Leaf Extracts from Dillenia philippinensis Rolfe Exhibit Cytotoxic Activity to both Drug-Sensitive and Multidrug-Resistant Cancer Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.


Background: Cancer is one of the leading causes of illness and death worldwide. Only palliative therapeutic options are available for many types of cancers, and most anticancer drugs in clinical use exhibit significant side effects. It is therefore important to develop new anticancer drugs that are more effective and less toxic. In this study, we evaluate the bioactivity of a Philippine endemic plant, “katmon” or Dillenia philippinensis, and its potential use in cancer therapy. Methods: The cytotoxicity of the crude leaf extract, partitions, and isocratic column chromatography fractions of Dillenia philippinensis was determined in vitro by MTT assay against drug-sensitive cancer cell lines MCF7 (human breast adenocarcinoma) and HCT 116 (human colorectal carcinoma), as well as against moderately multidrug resistant (MDR) cancer cell line HCT-15 (human colorectal carcinoma) and its highly MDR subline HCT-15/Dox. The selectivity of the extract to cancer cells was determined by computing for the selectivity index (SI) with respect to normal mouse embryonic fibroblasts (NIH/3T3) cell line. To check for a possible mechanism for overcoming cancer multiple drug resistance, Calcein-AM assay was performed to assess the activity of the extract against P-glycoprotein-activated efflux pump. Results: Dillenia philippinensis (DP1) fraction from the hexane partition exhibited cytotoxicity (IC50< 30 µg/ml) against MCF7, HCT 116, HCT-15, and HCT-15/Dox cells. DP1 also exhibited a moderate level of selectivity against cancer cells over normal cells as supported by the SI computed from the IC50 value obtained for the normal cell line. DP1 was able to inhibit P-glycoprotein (P-gp) activity in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting its possible role in targeting cancer cells with overexpressed P-gp. Conclusion: The present findings thus demonstrate the potential chemotherapeutic properties of D. philippinensis which can be promising for future drug development against cancer.


Main Subjects

Volume 20, Issue 11
November 2019
Pages 3285-3290
  • Receive Date: 10 January 2017
  • Revise Date: 04 October 2019
  • Accept Date: 14 October 2019
  • First Publish Date: 01 November 2019