Chemotherapy used today often induces apoptosis in cancer cells, but this therapy does not work after cancers have metastasized. A cancer patient has a poor prognosis at that point. The present study was done of the antimetastatic capacity of Phyllanthus plant species (niruri, urinaria, watsonii and amarus) against breast and lung cancer cells. Phyllanthus niruri was shown to work against hepatitis B virus and is, also, effective against prostate cancer and malignant melanoma. (It came from India, originally, and is used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines.)
Both water and alcohol extracts from Phyllanthus species were tested for their ability to inhibit MCF-7 breast cancer cells and A549 lung cancer cells at a variety of doses. The Phyllanthus extracts reduced the invasion, migration and adhesion functions of the cancers, which impair the ability of cancer to spread. The plant extracts had low toxicity toward normal cells.
Phyllanthus extract treatment caused cell death by apoptosis (cell suicide) in addition to the antimetastatic effects. Polyphenols are the chemicals responsible for these actions. Among others, the chemicals include gallic acid, rutin and quercetin glucoside. Phyllanthus watsonii showed the strongest toxicity to cancer cells in this study.
CONCLUSION: The polyphenols found in Phyllanthus plant species have antimetastatic potential and the ability to induce apoptosis in lung and breast cancer cells. Phyllanthus species plants are cytotoxic to some cancer cells and can prevent cancer spread and metastasis.
NOTE: Phyllanthus niruri is known as Stone Breaker and Chanca Piedra and is used to treat urinary stones and gallbladder stones. Phyllanthus watsonii is found in Malaysia.
Read about the benefits of Phyllanthus niruri in lung cancer and breast cancer. Read about the hepatoprotective effects of phyllanthus.
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