Anti-proliferative effect of Ficus pumila Linn. on human leukemic cell lines

Christopher Larbie, Regina Appiah-Opong, Felix Acheampong, Isaac Tuffour, Takuhiro Uto, Gideon Agyare Yeboah, Offeibea Abboah-Offei, Doris N. K. Tagoe, Samuel E. Inkabi


Background: Cancer is one of the many diseases of global concern due to its high mortality rate with drug resistance becoming a major challenge to chemotherapy and this have propelled many cancer patients to seek alternative and complementary methods of treatment. The objective for this study was, therefore, to determine the antiproliferative activity as well as phytochemical, total phenolic content (TPC), and antioxidant activity of the stem and leaf extracts (FPS and FPL) of Ficus pumila (L.) using standard methods.

Methods: The 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay was used to evaluate anti-proliferative effect and spectrophotometric-based assays for antioxidant and TPC. Phytochemical constituents were accessed by standard methods.

Results: The hydroethanolic extracts of the leaves and stems were rich in tannins, general glycosides, saponins, terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids (leaves only), and sterols (stem only). Strong total antioxidant activities were observed with FPL and FPS with EC50 values of 0.07 mg/ml and 0.089 mg/ml, respectively. All the crude extracts showed anti-proliferative effect towards the three human leukemic cell lines used (Jurkat, CEM, and HL-60). However, FPL gave the strongest inhibition concentration at 50% values of 130.97 µg/ml (Jurkat) and 56.31 µg/ml (HL-60).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that crude extracts of FPS and FPL have anti-proliferative effect on the leukemia cells. The antioxidant properties of the plant including phenolics may be partly responsible for the anti-proliferative activity. Further studies are required to isolate chemical components of the plant and establish their anti-proliferative activities and mechanism of action.


Anti-proliferative, Antioxidant, Ficus pumila, Phenolics, Phytochemical

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