Background: Current anticancer therapeutics comes with significant side effects and thus focus is shifting towards minimizing the side effects or to avoid the disease altogether. Thus, various natural products are being investigated for their potential therapeutic values which can be easily included in daily diet of a person. Citrullus colocynthis (L.) fruit is commonly used in traditional medicines and is known to have antioxidant effects, thus may possess potent anticancer activity as well.
Objectives: To establish the anticancer potential of fruit belonging to Citrullus colocynthis (L.) and delineate the potential targets.
Results: In the present study it was found that seed and pulp extracts of the fruit are effective against various cancer cell lines while the normal cells, with lower rate of division, remain largely unaffected. The current study for the first time shows that these extracts function via regulation of p53 pathways and the mode of apoptosis is mostly via mitochondrial (intrinsic) pathway. The biological profiling of the extracts was also validated using molecular modelling studies utilizing the two major polyphenols constituents from colocynths i.e., Isoorientin and Isovitexin.
Conclusion: The study suggested that the constituent has a multiple target approach for the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and inhibition of ROS production via the major apoptotic proteins. All of these outcomes suggest and establish a critical role of ROS accumulation and mitochondrial function in the p53-dependent cell.
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