Africa pepper stops prostate, breast cancer
A local spice could be used to stop the spread and development of prostate and breast cancers.
Researchers have confirmed the anti-proliferative effects of ethanolic extract of African pepper (Xylopia aethiopica) fruits on breast and prostate cancer cells. This can be seen from the inhibition of cell growth by this extract thus highlighting its potential as a therapy against breast and prostate cancer.
The study published in July 15, 2016 edition of the journal Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics and Cancer Research is titled “Preliminary anti-proliferative effect of ethanolic extracts of Xylopia aethiopica on prostate and breast cancer cell lines.”
The researchers, Emeka E.J Iweala and Eunice W. Bankole, also published the abstract of the study in Proceedings of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 107th Annual Meeting 2016; April 16 to 20, 2016; New Orleans, Los Angeles, United States.
Commonly called African pepper or Guinea pepper, Xylopia aethiopica, belongs to the family Annonaceae. In Nigerian Arabic, it is called kyimba in, kumba in Arabic-Shuwa, kenya in Bokyi, akada in Degema, unie in Edo, ata in Efik, kimbaahre in Fula-Fulfulde, kimbaa in Hausa, ata in Ibibio, uda in Ibo, tsunfyanya in Nupe, kimbill in Tera, eeru in Yoruba.
Xylopia aethiopica, a plant found throughout West Africa, has both nutritional and medicinal uses.
The cloves of the plant Xylopia aethiopica, a member of the custard apple family, Annonaceae, are used as a spice in various traditional dishes of Western and Central Africa. The plant is also used in decoction to treat dysentery, bronchitis, ulceration, skin infection and female sterility.
The researchers noted: “The aim of the research was to study the preliminary anti-proliferative effects of ethanolic extracts of Xylopia aethiopica on prostate and breast cancer cell lines. Dried X. aethiopica fruits were extracted with 70 per cent ethanol and tested against prostate (LNCaP) and breast cancer (MCF7 and MDA-MB231) cells’ viability in vitro using the MTT ((3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) assay. The IC50 values for the extract were determined through linear regression using GraphPad Prism 6 software. The data obtained were expressed as mean ± SEM. Statistical analysis was carried out by one-way ANOVA followed by Dunnet’s test (α = 0.05) to compare experimental means with controls.
“The data generated indicates that X. aethiopica fruits extract showed a dose-dependent anti-proliferative activity against LNCaP, MDA-MB231and MCF7 cancer cell lines after treatment for 48 and 72 hours. The extract induced a 16.96 per cent and 93.5 per cent inhibition on MDA-MB231 cells, 29.76 per cent and 94.03 per cent on the MCF7 cells and a 9.15 per cent and 94.61 per cent inhibition on the LNCaP cells at the lowest (1μg/ml) and highest (100μg/ml) dose respectively after 48 hours.
“The extract induced a 12.26 per cent and 91.8 per cent cell growth inhibition on the MDA-MB231 cells, 3.35 per cent and 87.36 per cent growth inhibition on the MCF7 cells and 2.28 per cent and 92.42 per cent cell growth inhibition on the LNCaP cells at the lowest (1μg/ml) and highest (100μg/ml) dose respectively after 72 hours. The IC50 was estimated to be 3.408μg/ml, 2.064μg/ml, 3.371μg/ml for MDA-MB231, MCF7 and LNCaP cells respectively.
“The data generated from this research indicates the anti-proliferative effects of ethanolic extract of X. aethiopica fruits on breast and prostate cancer cells. This can be seen from the inhibition of cell growth by this extract thus highlighting its potential as a therapy against breast and prostate cancer.”
According to The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa by H. M. Burkill, “the powdered root of Xylopia aethiopica is used as a dressing for sores and to rub on gums for pyorrhoea and in local treatment of cancer in Nigeria, and when mixed with salt is a cure for constipation.
“The powdered bark is dusted onto ulcers, and a decoction of leaves and roots is a general tonic in Nigeria for fevers and debility, and enters an agbo prescription. The leaves have a pungent smell. A decoction is used in Gabon against rheumatism and as an emetic, and as a macerate in palm-wine it makes a popular intoxicating drink. In Congo powdered leaves are taken as snuff for headaches, and used in friction on the chest for bronchio-pneumonia.”
Earlier studies had suggested that eating food prepared with African pepper and other spices and goat weed could prevent cancer.
German and Camerounian researchers following laboratory experiments conducted at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Germany had concluded that African medicinal plants contain chemicals that may be able to stop the spread of cancer cells.
The study was published in the journal Phytomedicine. The researchers said the plant materials would now undergo further analysis in order to evaluate their therapeutic potential.
Prof. Thomas Efferth of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biochemistry – Therapeutic Life Sciences at Mainz University said: “The active substances present in African medicinal plants may be capable of killing off tumor cells that are resistant to more than one drug. They thus represent an excellent starting point for the development of new therapeutic treatments for cancers that do not respond to conventional chemotherapy regimens.”
Nigerian and Chinese researchers had also in a study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine showed that Ageratum conyzoides (goat weed) possessed anticancer and antiradical properties in most cancer cell lines. The cancer cell lines include: Human non-small cell lung carcinoma (A-549), human colon adenocarcinoma (HT-29), human gastric carcinoma (SGC-7901), human golima (U-251), human breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-231), human prostate carcinoma (DU-145), human hepatic carcinoma (BEL-7402), and mouse leukemia (P-388) cancer cell lines.
The study is titled “Anticancer and antiradical scavenging activity of Ageratum conyzoides L. (Asteraceae).”
Commonly called goat weed and billy goat weed, Ageratum conyzoides L. belongs to the plant family Asteraceae (formerly Compositae). It is native to Central America, Caribbean, United States, Southeast Asia, South China, India, Nigeria, Australia, and South America.