About Authors:
S.Kameshwaran1*, V.Suresh1, M.Mohanraj2
1Department of pharmacology,
JKK munirajah medical research foundation and College of Pharmacy,
B.Komarapalayam, Namakkal, Tamilnadu - 638183
2Marineboitoxinology labs, CAS in marine biology, Annamalai university,
Chidambaram, Tamilnadu-608502

Tecoma stans flowers have been traditionally used for many ailments including cancer. In the present study, anti cancer activity of methanolic flower extract of T.stans (METS) was evaluated using both in vitro and in vivo methods. METS was subjected to preliminary qualitative phytochemical investigations by using standard procedures. In vitro antitumor activity of METS was evaluated by the MTT assay methodusing Vero and HEP-2 cell lines. Then the extract subjected to in vivo anti cancer activity using Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) tumor model. The activity was assessed Increase in life span, average increase in body weight, changes in food intake, tumor volume, tumor weight, viable cell count, non viable cell count, PCV, Total cell count and hematological studies. The potency of the extract was compared with standard 5-flurouracil (20 mg/kg i.p.).In in vitro anti cancer activity METS exhibited significant cytotoxic activity against both cell lines even at different concentrations. Oral administration of METS at the dose of 200 and 400 mg/Kg, significantly (p < 0.001) increased the survival time, non viable cell count and decreased the average body weight and food intake, viable cell count of the tumor bearing mice. After 14 days of inoculation, METS was able to reverse the changes in the hematological parameters, protein and PCV consequent to tumor inoculation.The results indicate that METS possess significant antitumor activity on dose dependent manner.


Cancer, the second leading cause of death worldwide next to cardiovascular diseases, is a group of more than 100 different diseases, characterized by uncontrolled cellular growth, local tissue invasion and distant metastases1. Cancer is the cause of more than six million deaths each year in the world. In 2001, about 1,268,000 new cancer cases and 553,400 deaths were reported in the United States2. It can be treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biological therapy. Chemotherapy is still a major challenge to the cancer patients because such highly potent drug can be toxic and less than 1% of injected drug molecules can reach their target cells whereas the rest may damage healthy cells and tissue especially bone marrow, epithelial tissues, reticulo-endothelial system and gonads3 Since medieval times, plants have been the source of medicines for the treatment of diseases. Regardless of the availability of a wealth of synthetic drugs, plants remain– even in the 21st century – an integral part of the health care in different countries, especially the developing ones. In the late 90’s, the WHO stated that a big percentage of the world’s population depends on plant based therapies to cover the needs of the primary health care (WHO 1999)4. The areas of cancer and infectious diseases have a leading position in utilization of medicinal plants as a source of drug discovery. Among FDA approved anticancer and anti-infectious preparations drugs of natural origin have a share of 60% and 75% respectively5. It is worthy to mention the vivid current interest in discovery of natural drugs for cancer treatment and chemoprevention6,7. Huge number of plant species is screened and bioassayed for this purpose worldwide8.
Tecoma stans(Common name: Yellow bell) also known as Yellow Trumpet bush belonging to the family Bignoniaceae. Itis an ornamental plant. It is an erect, branched, sparingly hairy or nearly smooth shrub 2 to 4 meters in height. The leaves are opposite, odd-pinnate, and up to 20 centimeters in length with 5 to 7 leaflets. The leaflets are lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 6 to 13 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, and toothed on the margins. Trumpet-shaped flowersare yellow, faintly scented, and borne in short, dense, terminal clusters .The calyx is green, 5 to 7 millimeters long, and 5-toothed. Flowering can begin as early as April and continue into fall. The flowers are followed by 6-inch-long, tanpods that are filled with small, papery winged seeds9.

Leaves of the T.stans contain the alkaloids tecomine and tecostamine are potent hypoglycaemic agent when given intravenously. Anthranilic acid is responsible for the antidiabetic activity; roots are powerful diuretic and vermifuge10.Tecoma is not a toxic because this plant is used in Latin America as a remedy for diabetes and moreover for feeding cattle and goats in Mexico11. The preliminary phytochemical screening of methanolic extract of flower extract of Tecoma stansshowed the presence of flavonoids, phenol, alkaloids, Tannin,  steroids, triterpenes, anthraquinones and saponins etc.
Flavonoids are a group of more than 4000 polyphenolic compounds that occur naturally in foods of plant origin. These compounds possess a common phenylbenzopyrone structure (C6-C3-C6), and they are categorized according to the saturation level and opening of the central pyran ring, mainly into flavones, flavanols, isoflavones, flavonols, flavanones, and flavanonols12,13. The weight of the epidemiological evidence for a protective effect of flavonoids against cancer is impressive.  A growing number of epidemiological studies suggest that high flavonoid intake may be correlated with a decreased risk of cancer14. flavonoids may inhibit various stages in the carcinogenesis process, namely tumor initiation, promotion, and progression.  Also in vivo and in vitro studies, many mechanisms of action may be involved. These include carcinogen inactivation, antiproliferation, cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis and differentiation, inhibition of angiogenesis, antioxidation and reversal of multidrug resistance or a combination of these mechanisms15. Based on this information about flavanoids as anti cancer agents, the present study focus on the anti cancer activity (in invitro and in vivo) of the methanolic extract of Tecoma stans flowers.

Collection and extraction

The flowers of Tecoma stans were collected in the month of May from Rasipuram (Namakkal District) Tamil Nadu. The plant was identified by Dr.G.V.S.Murthy, Joint Director of Botanical Survey of India, Southern circle, TNAU Campus, Coimbatore who authenticated the plant from available literature.  The flower petals were dried in shade and powdered and 100 g of the dried powder was extracted with methanol by hot soxhlet apparatous. The solvent was removed under reduced pressure and controlled temperature by using rotary flash evaporator. Phytochemical screening of the extract revealed the presence of tannin, flavonoids, phenol, alkaloids, steroids, triterpenes and saponins etc.

Tumor cell lines
Vero and Hep-2 (Human larynx carcinoma cell line), The cell lines were purchased from Amla Research Institute, Trichur .  EAC cells were obtained under the courtesy of Amala Cancer Research Centre, Trissur, Kerala, India. They were maintained by weekly intraperitoneal inoculation of 106 cells/ mouse.

Male swiss albino rats weighing 150-180g were used in this experiment. They were housed in standard environmental condition like, ambient temperature (25oC ± 1oC), relative humidity (55±5%), and 12/12h light dark cycle. Animals had free access to standard pellet diet and water ad libitum. All animal experiments were carried out in accordance with the guidelines of CPCSEA. The institute animal ethical committee has given the approval for conducting animal experiments (approval No. 1158/ac/07/CPCSEA).



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