Cytotoxicity of Graviola Leaf Extracts in a Head and Neck Cancer Model

Dra. Celine Cassé - Departamento de Química


Background: Annona muricata, commonly known as Graviola, soursop or guanabana, is an evergreen tree native to the tropics with  a long history of use in ethnomedicine in indigenous communities in Africa and South America . Its active phytoconstituents have provided medicinal benefits against various ailments and diseases such as arthritis, parasitic infection, hypertension, fever or diabetes. Studies conducted in vitro and in vivo have concluded that Graviola phytocomponents have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. One of the characteristics of cancer cells is their uncontrolled proliferation rate. In that sense, molecules that inhibit cell proliferation offer potential therapeutical benefits.

Methods: The antiproliferative properties of an ethanolic extract and of an aqueous extract of Graviola leaves were assessed on an in vitro model for tongue Squamous Carcinoma Cells by determining the concentration of the respective extracts associated with a 50% cell viability.

Results: Our results indicated that the ethanolic extract was 4 times more active in inhibiting the growth of Squamous Cell Carcinoma-25 than the aqueous extract. (Respective GI50= 61.7 mg/mL, AE GI50= 274.6 mg/mL ).

Conclusions: We hypothesize that some organic compounds involved in the antiproliferative/cytotoxicity were selectively extracted by Ethanol. Future plans include characterizing those bioactive compounds and assessing their bioactivity on Squamous Cell Carcinoma-25 vs. non-cancerous oral cells. Our hope is to discover natural molecules to be used as alternative treatment for Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.