Annona muricata is a broad-leaf, flowering tree that, along with its several benefits, possesses anti-cancer properties. Research claims that the extract from the leaves of the tree has the capability to stop the development and spreading of the triple negative breast cancer.
The respective tree also produces a spiky fruit called “Soursop”. It is sometimes named “Graviola” as well. The fruit is said to contain numerous metabolites called annonaceous acetogenins. These metabolites have been clinically tested and revealed to exhibit activities against arthritis, parasites, and even cancer.
Korean researchers carried out the respective study associating the leaves’ extract and cancerous cells. During their research experiments, the breast cancer cells sub-type began to die off. The extract reportedly triggered a pathway that causes the cancer cells to break down.
Triple-negative breast cancer finds its name due to the absence of the three biological markers that identify the other sub-types of the disease. About 12 percent of all patients with breast cancer have this type. This sub-type is clinically aggressive. It reappears more often and has a high risk of attacking the liver and brain.
Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy are some conventional treatments employed against the disease. However, these treatments do more harm to the body than the disease itself.
Researchers from the Seoul National University (SNU) obtained samples of the extract from the leaves of the Soursop tree. They used a methanol-processed solution in order to identify and count the phytochemicals that made up the extract.
The researchers cultivated two different cell lines for the experiment,
- The MCF-7 Line
- The MDA-MB-231 Line
The former line constituted the breast cancer cells that were tested positive for estrogen receptor biomarkers. The MCF-7 cell line made up the control group. On the other hand, the MDA-MB-231 line is a triple negative breast cancer cells’ strain. It served as the treatment group.
The soursop leaf extract was applied to both of the cultures of cancer cell lines. Several different tests were conducted by the researchers to determine individual properties of the extract. Following properties of the extract were evaluated,
- Its cytotoxic effect on the viability of the cancer cells
- Its effectiveness at inhibiting the cell growth
- Its ability to prevent wounded carcinoma from healing injuries
- Its ability to stop the propagation of the cancerous cells toward healthy cells
The researchers evaluated all the above-mentioned abilities of the Soursop leaf extract on the normal breast cancer cells as well as the triple negative breast cancer cells.
The results of the study revealed that the extract was toxic against both breast cancer cell cultures. It greatly lowered the viability of the cells. In addition, it prevented the cancer cells from growing as fast as before. The cytotoxicity of the treatment raised up as the dose was increased.
The extract also hindered the motility of the breast cancer cells. It curtailed the ability of the cancer cells to invade healthy cells. Moreover, the extract delayed the healing of the wounded carcinoma. Higher doses resulted in stronger effects on the cell motility.
The Soursop leaf extract reportedly used different mechanisms to cause cell apoptosis in both cultures. For MCF-7 cells, the extract used the estrogen receptors to initiate and enhance the self-destruct sequence. However, for triple negative breast cancer cells, it targeted a unique apoptotic pathway by attacking the mitochondria and damaging the DNA of cancer cells.
Further studies are encouraged by the researchers in order to enumerate hidden advantages of the Soursop leaf extract against other types of cancers.