Gleditsia sinensis fruit extract is a potential chemotherapeutic agent in chronic and acute myelogenous leukemia

Ming Cheung Chow, Chung Hin Chui, Cheuk On Tang, Ivy Tuang Ngo Teo, Fung Yi Lau, Gregory Yin Ming Cheng, Raymond Seu Ming Wong, Thomas Wai Tong Leung, Ka Bik Lai, Mabel Yin Chun Yau, Dean Gou, Albert Sun Chi Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The anti-leukemia activity of the saponin rich Gleditsia sinensis Lam. fruit extract (GSE) was investigated on cancer cell lines and bone marrow cells obtained from consented patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) during presentation. The growth inhibitory activity of the extract was determined by [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3- carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium] (MTS) assay. Colony formation assay was performed to investigate the regeneration potential. Cellular morphology change was studied. Apoptosis was demonstrated by DNA electrophoresis, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and flow cytometry. The mean concentration to inhibit the cell growth by 50% (MTS50) was 18±1.6 μg/ml for K562 CML cell line and 12±1.3 μg/ml for HL-60 acute promyelocytic leukemia cell line. Patient samples showed a mean MTS50of 13-28 μg/ml. Non-malignant hematological disorder bone marrow samples showed a mean MTS50from 45 to 53 μg/ml. Loss of regeneration property after treatment with GSE of these two cancer cell lines were confirmed by colony formation assay. GSE was able to induce cell shrinkage in K-562. DNA laddering was observed by incubating the leukemia cells with GSE. RT-PCR demonstrated that the proapoptic gene bax was induced while the anti-apoptic gene bcl-2 and cell cycle active gene PCNA were reduced. Flow cytometric analysis showed that the apoptotic effect of GSE on leukemia cell line was time- and dose-dependent. Thus GSE might be potentially used as a chemotherapeutic drug to treat patients with acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1607
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2003


  • Apoptosis
  • in vitro
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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