Iberis amara extract induces intracellular formation of reactive oxygen species and inhibits colon cancer


  • C. Weidner
  • M. Rousseau
  • A. Plauth
  • S.J. Wowro
  • C. Fischer
  • H. Abdel-Aziz
  • S. Sauer


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 11 (4): e0152398


  • Massively increasing global incidences of colorectal cancer require efficient treatment and prevention strategies. Here, we report unexpected anticancerogenic effects of hydroethanolic Iberis amara extract (IAE), which is known as a widely used phytomedical product for treating gastrointestinal complaints. IAE significantly inhibited the proliferation of HT-29 and T84 colon carcinoma cells with an inhibitory concentration (IC(50) of 6 and 9 μg/ml, respectively, and further generated inhibitory effects in PC-3 prostate and MCF7 breast cancer cells. Inhibition of proliferation in HT-29 cells was associated with a G2/M phase cell cycle arrest including reduced expression of various regulatory marker proteins. Notably, in HT-29 cells IAE further induced apoptosis by intracellular formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Consistent with predictions derived from our in vitro experiments, bidaily oral gavage of 50 mg/kg of IAE over 4 weeks resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth in a mouse HT-29 tumor xenograft model. Taken together, Iberis amara extracts could become useful alternatives for preventing and treating the progression of colon cancer.