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Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer and a major cause of death in women, makes up about one-tenth of all new cancer diagnoses worldwide. Breast cancer and other cancer forms are heterogeneous diseases with varied morphological appearances, molecular features, behavior, and response to therapies (using surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy). Despite the achievement of objective responses, the available treatments are associated with significant limitations in safety and efficacy. Several plant products (barks, leaves, flowers, roots, fruits, seeds) have been characterized as effective in cancer chemoprevention with minimal or no side effects.
Aims: This study is aimed at evaluating the antiproliferative potential of aqueous leaf extract of Mucuna pruriens on 7,12-dimethylbenzeneanthracene (DMBA)-induced-breast cancer in female albino rats.
Materials and methods: M. pruriens, thirty (30) female albino rats and 7,12-dimethylbenzeneanthracene were used for this study. Hot extraction protocol was employed in the preparation of aqueous extract of M. pruriens leaves. Qualitative and quantitative phytochemical screening of aqueous leaf extract of M. pruriens and weight determination was employed using standard protocol. Comet assay protocol was employed to determine level of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation while hematoxylin and eosin were used for histological assay.
Results: Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of alkaloids, reducing sugar, anthraquinones, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides, phenols and steroids. Flavonoid was quantitatively determined to be present in the highest amount. Histological assay revealed the presence of atrophy of seromucous glands with surrounding stromal fibrosis and hyperplasia of serous and mucinous. There was a significant weight difference between the control and treatment groups. Determination of length and weight of isolated tumor from rat induced with DMBA only was 2.4 cm and 2.8 g respectively. DNA smears obtained from single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) suggested possible DMBA-induced damage which was significantly prevented owing to the effect of the leaf extract of M. pruriens.
Conclusion: This study has shown that the leaf extract of M. pruriens could be used as a prophylactic measure against DMBA-induced cell proliferation in the breast tissues of female albino rats.