Medicinal plants from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula are widely used in traditional Bedouin medicine to treat a range of conditions including cancer, and as such are a promising resource for novel anti-cancer compounds. To achieve scientific justification of traditional use and/or to recommend the use of those plants as medicinal herbs for cancer chemoprevention, a group of 11 Sinai plants of different species that belong to 3 families (Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, and Euphorbiaceae) were biologically screened for cancer preventive activity using the chemoprevention marker enzyme NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1). Among the fractions assayed, a solvent extract from Pulicaria incisa had potent NQO1 inducing activity. Further analysis of the mechanism of induction revealed the concentration-dependent stabilization of the transcription factor NF-E2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and a coordinate upregulation of the Nrf2-dependent enzymes NQO1, heme oxygenase 1 and glutathione S-transferase-Pi. These results establish P. incisa as a promising target for future phytochemical characterization for cancer preventive components.
- Pulicaria incisa