Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world with a poor prognosis. About three quarters of the cases of liver cancer are found in Southeast Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, India, and Japan. The frequency of liver cancer in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa is greater than 20 cases per 100,000 population. Moreover, recent data show the frequency of liver cancer in the U.S. overall is rising.
With the increasing trend in the incidence of cancers in our country, biomedical research directed at early detection and diagnosis, prognosis and survival, as well as prevention of progression of malignancy, is of prime importance. The aim of cancer chemoprevention is to circumvent the development and progression of malignant cells through the use of non-cytotoxic nutrients, herbal preparations/natural plant products, and/or pharmacological agents. Encouraging dietary intake with herbal supplements may therefore be an effective strategy to limit DNA lesions and organic injuries leading to cancers and other chronic degenerative diseases. A research article published in the December 28 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology explores this point.
A research article published on December 28, 2007 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology (volume 13, issue 48) addresses this problem. The research team led by Prof. Malay Chatterjee from Jadavpur University investigated the primary chemopreventive mechanisms of Acanthus ilicifolius in an in vivo tumor-transplanted murine model. A. ilicifolius, popularly known as ¡°Harkach Kanta¡± is distributed widely throughout the mangroves of India, including Sunderbans in West Bengal, west coasts, and the Andamans, and in other Asian countries like Singhal, Burma, China, Thailand etc.
The results showed the aqueous leaf extract (ALE) of the plant was substantially effective in preventing hepatic DNA alterations and sister-chromatid exchanges (a type of chromosomal damage) in tumor-bearing mice. The study further demonstrated that ALE treatment was able to limit liver metallothionein expression, a potential marker for cell proliferation, and lengthen the mean survival of animals to a significant extent. The findings suggest that A. ilicifolius may be used as a potential chemoprotector against hepatic neoplasia.
This research from Prof. Chatterjee¡¯s laboratory opens up a promising avenue in cancer chemoprevention with the use of indigenous plants. The results obtained from this in vivo study seem interesting and encouraging. Lack of toxicity favors further preclinical evaluation of A. ilicifolius in a defined chemical carcinogenesis model. Elucidation of its anticarcinogenic mechanisms of action at the intricate molecular circuits, and isolation and characterization of its active principles, will provide a better understanding of the anti-cancer/chemoprevention strategy of A. ilicifolius. If these studies are found to be really functional, we will have the beginning of a new chemoprevention program with herbal supplements that could have the broadest implications for the well-being of society.
6.1 Reference: Chakraborty T, Bhuniya D, Chatterjee M, Rahaman M, Singha D, Chatterjee BN, Datta S, Rana A, Samanta K, Srivastawa S, Maitra SK, Chatterjee M. Acanthus ilicifolius plant extract prevents DNA alterations in a transplantable Ehrlich ascites carcinoma-bearing murine model. World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13(48): 6538-6548
6.2 Correspondence to: Professor Malay Chatterjee, Ph.D. D.Sc., Chemical Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Laboratory, Division of Biochemistry, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University, P.O. Box-17028, Calcutta 700032, India. firstname.lastname@example.org
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6.3 About World Journal of Gastroenterology
World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2003-2000 IF: 3.318, 2.532, 1.445 and 0.993. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. The WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.
6.4 About The WJG Press
The WJG Press mainly publishes World Journal of Gastroenterology.