Tumor Cell Selective Cytotoxicity and Apoptosis Induction by an Herbal Preparation from Brucea javanica

Hua Gao, MD, Julie Lamusta, BA, Wei-Fang Zhang, MD, PhD, Rebecca Salmonsen, MA, Yingwang Liu, MD, Edward O’Connell, BA, James E. Evans, Sumner Burstein, PhD, Jason J. Chen, PhD


The plant Brucea javanica has shown impressive efficacy for treating various diseases including cancer. However, the mechanism by which B. javanica acts is poorly understood. We have established tissue culture assays to study the effects of B. javanica on cervical and several other cancer cells. Our results demonstrated that the aqueous extract from B. javanica is selectively toxic to cancer cells. Induction of apoptosis by B. javanica appears to be a possible mechanism by which it kills cancer cells. Interestingly, a significant increase of p53 protein level was observed in these apoptotic cells. Our studies indicated that both p53-dependent and p53-independent activities contributed to herb-induced cell death. These results imply that further studies with B. javanica may lead to the development of novel anti-cancer drugs.


Brucea javanica, Cancer therapy, Cytotoxicity, Apoptosis, p53

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.