Cytotoxicity of a protodioscin rich fraction from fenugreek seeds against human cancer cell lines


Session type:

Vikram Gota1, Aarti Juvekar1, Parikshit Bansal2

1ACTREC, Tata Memorial Centre, Navi Mumbai, Maharastra, India, 2National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, Punjab, India



Protodioscin (PD), a furostanolic saponin isolated from Dioscorea collettii var. hypoglauca has been used as anti-cancer agent in traditional Chinese medicine. Its cytotoxicity against several cancer cell lines has been reported (Hu et al, 2002). We report here results of a protodioscin- rich (30%) novel fraction purified from fenugreek seeds by a patented process and kindly gifted by M/S Chemical Resources, Panchkula (India).


Fourteen human cancer cell lines were tested for cytotoxicity of the fraction at our anticancer drug screening facility. The Sulforhodamine B colorimetric assay for cytotoxicity screening was used to measure the percentage growth (PG) of cells at four different concentrations of PD. The concentrations corresponding to PG values of +50, 0 and -50 are respectively denoted as 50% growth inhibition (GI50), total growth inhibition (TGI) and 50% cell killing (LC50).


Strong cytotoxicity against four cell lines viz. Prostate (DU145), Lung (A549 and HOP62) and colon (Colo205) with GI50 ≤ 2.0 μM and moderate cytotoxicity against the oral cancer cell line KB (GI50 = 25μM) was observed. No activity was observed for kidney (786-O), leukemia (K562), ovary (A2780), colon (HCT15), CNS (U373MG), breast (MCF7), liver (HEPG2) and two cell lines of cervix (ME180 and SiHa), with fraction showing GI50 above 100μM of PD.


Our observations confirm earlier findings of PD activity against colon, prostate and lung cancer cell lines. We report activity against an oral cancer cell line, KB, which was not studied earlier.


[1] Hu K, Yao X (2002). Planta Med 68: 297-301.