Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Effects of Luffa Cylindrica Leaves Extract against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemic Stem Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

2 Cancer Biology Department, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.

3 Clinical Pathology Department, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.


Background: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is an aggressive malignancy defined by accumulation of lymphoblasts in the bone marrow. Leukemic stem cells (LSCs) are the major cause of the recurrence and metastasis of ALL. This study aimed to develop an effective anti-cancer agent targeting these LSCs. Luffa Cylindrica (L.C.) leaves extract was selected to evaluate its effect on ALL via eradicating the LSCs as it contains many active anti-cancer flavonoids. Methods: Thirty-two bone marrow samples of ALL patients were used in this study. LSCs population was identified in the selected samples. Cell viability was measured by MTT assay and flow cytometry. Cell cycle, apoptosis, proliferation marker; ki-67 and colony forming assay were further analyzed. Results: This study revealed the expression of CD34+/CD38+ cells in addition to CD34+/CD38- population and the extract was effective against the two LSCs populations. MTT assay showed that treated leukemic cells exhibited significant reduction in the viable cells in a dose dependent manner with IC50 of 3 µg/µl which was then confirmed by flow cytometry. Cell cycle analysis results showed significant reduction in the percentage of cells treated with L.C. extract in both the S and G0/G1 phases, with concomitant increase in the G2/M phase. Also, L.C. extract could effectively induce apoptosis, inhibit proliferation and suppress colonogenecity of leukemic cells. Conclusion: This study validated the medicinal potential of L.C. leaves extract as a promising anti-leukemic agent targeting both LSCs and blasts in ALL patients, which may be explained by the synergy found between its potent flavonoids especially apigenin, luteolin and kaempferol.


Main Subjects

Volume 21, Issue 12
December 2020
Pages 3661-3668
  • Receive Date: 06 October 2020
  • Revise Date: 15 November 2020
  • Accept Date: 15 December 2020
  • First Publish Date: 15 December 2020