Cytotoxicity evaluation of Amaranthus extracts compared with AS20 on MCF-7 cancer cells

(1) The International School Bangalore, (2) iCREST-International Stem Cell Services Limited
Cover photo for Cytotoxicity evaluation of <i>Amaranthus</i> extracts compared with AS20 on MCF-7 cancer cells
Image credit: Mahek Shah

Advancement in oncology research is striving to find new and effective therapies for treating cancer, limiting the drawbacks of conventional treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc. Many plant-derived active ingredients such as saponins, tannins, alkaloids, and polyphenols are used in cancer treatments which are FDA approved. Amaranthus is a traditional Indian medicinal plant used to treat a variety of diseases. It was previously found to contain phenols, tannins, flavonoids, and alkaloids among other bioactive phytochemicals. In the present study, we hypothesized that AS20, a polyherbal formulation derived from Amaranthus leaves and inflorescence has higher anticancer properties than individual extracts such as leaf methanol and inflorescence acetone extract on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. We also hypothesized that AS20 would induce higher levels of apoptosis in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. We discovered that AS20 had a considerably lesser maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) compared to individual plant extracts of Amaranthus spinosus using 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide (MTT) assay. AS20 had a lower IC50 than leaf methanol and inflorescence acetone extract respectively. Paclitaxel (a chemotherapeutic drug which can be used in cancer treatment) was used as a positive control and showed similar IC50 value like AS20. These findings indicated that AS20 did not show a significantly lower IC50 value compared to the chemotherapeutic drug Paclitaxel. Fluorescence staining methods such as Hoechst, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), and acridine orange with propidium iodide (dual staining) showed that AS20 caused 51% cell death in MCF-7 cells compared to 4% cell death in untreated MCF-7 cells after 48 hours of exposure, indicating successful drug activity in inducing apoptosis.

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