In vitro cytotoxic activity of Thai medicinal plants used traditionally to treat cancer

Arunporn Itharat, Peter J. Houghton, E. Eno-Amooquaye, P. J. Burke, Julia H. Sampson, Amala Soumyanath

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157 Scopus citations


The SRB assay was used to test cytotoxicity against three human cancer cell lines and one normal cell line of 11 Thai medicinal plant species used by traditional doctors in treating cancer patients. The extraction procedures used were similar to those practised by Thai traditional doctors (ethanolic and water extracts). Extracts were tested against the human large cell lung carcinoma cell line COR-L23, the human breast adenocarcinoma cell line MCF-7 and human colon adenocarcinoma cell line LS-174T and normal human keratinocytes SVK-14. The results showed that three plants; Dioscorea membranacea Pierre ex Prain & Burkill, Dioscorea birmanica Prain & Burkill (Dioscoreaceae) and Siphonodon celastrineus Griff. (Celastraceae), exhibited high cytotoxic activity showing a certain degree of selectivity against the different cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Cytotoxicity test
  • Dioscorea
  • Siphonodon
  • SRB assay
  • Thai anticancer plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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