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Anti-tumor Activity of Phyllanthus niruri (a Medicinal Plant) on Chemical-induced Skin Carcinogenesis in Mice

Chemoprevention is an important strategy to control the process of carcinogenesis. The potential of using medicinal herbs as cancer chemopreventive nutraceuticals and functional food is promising. Thus, there is a need for exploring drugs/agents which act as chemopreventive agents. Phyllanthus niruri is a well known medicinal plant which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as hepatoprotective, antiviral, antibacterial, analgesic, antispasmodic and antidiabetic. The present study was carried out to evaluate the anti-tumor activity of a hydro-alcoholic extract of the whole plant, in 7-9 week old male Swiss albino mice, on the two stage process of skin carcinogenesis induced by a single topical application of 7, 12-dimethylbenz (a)anthracene (100µg/100µl acetone) and two weeks later promoted by repeated application of croton oil (1% in acetone/three times a week) till the end of experiment (16 weeks). The oral administration of P. niruri at a dose of 1000 mg/kg/b.wt. at peri- (i.e. 7 days before & 7 days after DMBA application) and post- (i.e. starting from the croton oil application) initiational phase of papillomagenesis caused significant reduction in tumor incidence, tumor yield, tumor burden and cumulative number of papillomas as compared to carcinogen-treated controls. Furthermore, the average latent period was significantly increased in the PNE treated group. The results thus suggest that P. niruri extract exhibits significant anti-tumor activity, which supports the traditional medicinal utilization of this plant.