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Investigating the anti-tumor effect of elemene on pancreatic cancer cell lines


In this study, researchers from The First Hospital of China Medical University evaluated the anti-tumor effect and mechanism of action of elemene on pancreatic carcinoma in vitro and in vivo. Their results were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • Elemene is an anti-cancer compound found in plants that belong to the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family.
  • Using the MTT method, the researchers evaluated the anti-proliferation ability of elemene.
  • They used flow cytometry to assess its effects on the cell cycle after 12 hours of treatment.
  • The researchers transplanted BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells subcutaneously into 48 nude mice and divided the animals into four groups, namely, control, high dosage, medium dosage and low dosage treatment groups.
  • They used immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods to detect the expression of P53 and Bcl-2 in the transplanted tumors.
  • H and E staining allowed them to detect histopathological changes in each group.
  • Elemene inhibited the proliferation of BxPC-3 and Panc-1 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.
  • It also induced cell cycle arrest in the S phase after 12 hours of treatment.
  • In vivo, elemene significantly reduced tumor size in the high dosage group without causing significant changes in the animals’ body weights.
  • Histopathological examination showed that elemene significantly decreased the number of inflammatory cells and reduced histopathological changes in a dose-dependent manner.
  • Elemene also significantly up-regulated the expression of P53 while down-regulating the expression of Bcl-2 in the tumors.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that elemene from Zingiberaceae plants is an effective anti-tumor agent against pancreatic cancer.

Read the full study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Long J, Liu Z, Hui L. ANTI-TUMOR EFFECT AND MECHANISTIC STUDY OF ELEMENE ON PANCREATIC CARCINOMA. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 18 June 2019;19(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2544-2



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