Compounds in Parsley and Dill Show Anti-Cancer Properties

Novel agents using dill and parsley extracts show promise fighting cancer.

An efficient approach to novel agents with anticancer activity was explored in a recent study synthesizing these compounds based on extracts from dill and parsley seeds.

Currently, chemotherapy is the standard form of treatment for cancer, involving the use of antimitotics, which inhibits cancer cell growth by disrupting mitosis. Microtubules also play a key role in mitosis, and are composed of tubulin proteins.

Antimitotics bind to tubulin and affect microtubule dynamics by disrupting the cell cycle, resulting in arrested cell division and subsequent selective death. In a study published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers primarily focused on glaziovianin A, a potent antimitotic agent isolated from the leaves of a Brazilian tree called Ateleia glazioviana Baill.

Since the synthesis of the agent is laborious and expensive, researchers proposed a novel and more efficient 6-stage synthesis process for glaziovianin A. Researchers used precursors derived from the common plants parsley and dill.

Additionally, researchers also synthesized several of its structural analogs to help find analogues that have favorable antimitotic properties. Researchers used sea urchin embryos and human cancer cells to test the antitumor activity.

The sea urchin embryos were used to mimic actively dividing tumor cells that were dependent on tubulin dynamics. Test substances were added to an aqueous medium with the embryos to determine the concentrations for the rate of division changes, and when it comes to a stop.

The results of the embryo study found that the lower the concentration, the greater the antimitotic activity the substance had. Prior findings from the study authors established that when the specific antitubulin activity of an agent disrupts cell division, the sea urchin embryos begin to spin axially and can be observed using a common light microscope.

Researchers were able to determine several important parameters essential for an anti-cancer molecule in 1 shot through the use of the embryos, including: biomembrain permeability, overall toxicity, antimitotic effect, and solubility.

In order to confirm the findings, researchers used various human cancer cells, such as carcinoma, melanoma, ovarian, breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers.

The results of the study with human cancer cells showed the test substances were effective at limiting the growth of melanoma cells and non-toxic to healthy control blood cells.

Future studies will involve the optimization of the compound to help improve its metabolic stability and solubility, in addition to human xenograft studies in mice to confirm anti-tumor activity with potential for clinical development.