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Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the antitumor effect of the chloroform and ethanol extract of the whole plant of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. (Cuscutaceae) in Swiss albino mice against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma (EAC) cell line.
Methods: The antitumor activity of the chloroform and ethanol extracts of Cuscuta reflexa was evaluated against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) tumor in mice at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight orally, respectively, while acute oral toxicity studies were performed to determine the safety of the extracts. Briefly, the EAC cells were injected (i.p.) into ninty six mice (divided into 6 numerically equal groups), and after a one-day incubation period, the extracts were administered to the mice daily for 16 days. On day 21, six animals in each group were sacrificed for observation of antitumor activity and the remaining animals were observed to determine host the life span. Antitumor effect was determined by evaluating tumor volume, viable and nonviable tumor cell count and hematological parameters of the host. The standard antitumor used was 5-fluorouracil.
Results: Administration of the extracts resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in tumor volume and viable cell count, but increased non-viable cell count and mean survival time, thereby increasing the life span of the tumor-bearing mice. Restoration of hematological parameters - red blood cells (RBC), hemoglobin, white blood cells (WBC) and lymphocyte count - to normal levels in extract-treated mice was also observed.
Conclusion: The results suggest that the chloroform and ethanol extracts of C. reflexa exhibit significant antitumor activity in EAC-bearing mice that is comparable to that of the reference standard, 5-fluorouracil.
Keywords: Cuscuta reflexa, Ehrlich ascites carcinoma, 5-Fluorouracil, Tumor volume, Viable cell count.