Cytotoxic and apoptotic activities of prunus spinosa trigno ecotype extract on human cancer cells

Stefania Meschini, Evelin Pellegrini, Maria Condello, Giovanni Occhionero, Sebastiano Delfine, Giancarlo Condello, Franco Mastrodonato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this work was to demonstrate that a natural compound, not-toxic to normal cells, has cytotoxic and sensitizing effects on carcinoma cells, with the final goal of combining it with chemotherapeutic drugs to reduce the overall dose. Prunus spinosa Trigno ecotype (PsT) drupe extract with a nutraceutical activator complex (NAC) made of amino acids, vitamins and mineral salt blends, has shown in vitro anticancer activity. The cytotoxic effect of (PsT + NAC) ® has been evaluated on human cancer cells, with an initial screening with colorectal, uterine cervical, and bronchoalveolar cells, and a subsequent focus on colon carcinoma cells HCT116 and SW480. The viability reduction of HCT116 and SW480 after treatment with (PsT 10 mg/mL + NAC) ® was about 40% (p < 0.05), compared to control cells. The cell's survival reduction was ineffective when the drug vehicle (NAC) was replaced with a phosphate buffer saline (PBS) or physiological solution (PS). The flow cytometry evaluation of cancer cells' mitochondrial membrane potential showed an increase of 20% depolarized mitochondria. Cell cycle analysis showed a sub G1 (Gap 1 phase) peak appearance (HCT116:35.1%; SW480:11.6%), indicating apoptotic cell death induction that was confirmed by Annexin V assay (HCT116:86%; SW480:96%). Normal cells were not altered by (PsT + NAC) ® treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1578
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 20 2017


  • Anticancer activity
  • Apoptosis
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Prunus spinosa
  • Trigno ecotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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