Anti-Cancer Effects of Imperata cylindrica Leaf Extract on Human Oral Squamous Carcinoma Cell Line SCC-9 in Vitro


Department of Studies in Sericulture/Life Sciences, Bangalore University, Bangalore, India


Imperata cylindrica, a tall tufted grass which has multiple pharmacological applications is one of the key ingredients in various traditional medicinal formula used in India. Previous reports have shown that I. cylindrica plant extract inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in various cancer cell lines. To our knowledge, no studies have been published on the effect of I. cylindrica leaf extract on human oral cancers. The present study was undertaken in order to evaluate the anticancer properties of the leaf extract of I. cylindrica using an oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line SCC-9 as an in vitro model system. A methanol extract from dried leaves of I. cylindrica (ICL) was prepared by standard procedures. Effects of the ICL extract on the morphology of SCC-9 cells was visualized by microscopy. Cytotoxicity was determined by MTT assay. Effects of the ICL extract on colony forming ability of SCC-9 cells was evaluated using clonogenic assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry and induction of apoptosis was determined by DNA fragmentation assay. The ICL extract treatment caused cytotoxicity and induced cell death in vitro in SCC-9 cells in a dose-dependent manner. This treatment also significantly reduced the clonogenic potential and inhibited cell proliferation by arresting the cell cycle in the G2/M phase. Furthermore, DNA fragmentation assays showed that the observed cell death was caused by apoptosis. This is the first report showing the anticancer activity of the methanol extracts from the leaves of I. cylindrica in human oral cancer cell line. Our data indicates that ICL extract could be considered as one of the lead compounds for the formulation of anticancer therapeutic agents to treat/manage human oral cancers. The natural abundance of I. cylindrica and its wide geographic distribution could render it one of the primary resource materials for preparation of anticancer therapeutic agents.