Background: Madhuca indica belongs to the family sapotaceae, commonly
known as Mahua. It is primarily known for alcoholic beverage production and is reported
to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties. Madhuca indica has also
been reported to be effective in several diseases.
Objective: This study was undertaken to check the anticancer efficacy and
chemopreventive effect of methanolic extract of Mahua flower (ME) on human breast
cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468.
Method: The cytotoxic and anti-proliferative effects on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 cells
were studied by MTT, hexosaminidase and colony formation assay. Expression of
caspase 3/7 was assessed by flow cytometry and western blot analysis. Expression of
COX-2 was evaluated by western blot analysis, luciferase assay and mRNA analysis.
Results: ME inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells by inducing apoptosis
through up-regulating the expression of Caspase 3/7 (P < 0.0001). Our results showed a
decrease in the expression of COX-2 mRNA and COX-2 protein in both MCF-7 and
MDA-MB-468 cells with an increase in ME concentration. Furthermore synergistic effect
of ME and chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel was also studied in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-
468 cells which were found to be more effective (P < 0.0001) than treatment of either
ME or paclitaxel alone. Results were analyzed by ANOVA and Pearson correlation
Conclusion: All these experiments suggest that ME inhibits breast cancer cell
proliferation and apoptosis by inhibiting the expression of COX-2 in MCF-7 and MDAMB-
468 cells. This work further highlighted that ME may enhance the potentiality of
paclitaxel in breast cancer treatment.