Anticancer activity and phytochemical composition of wild Gundelia tournefortii
MetadataShow full item record
Artichoke‑like wild thistles are often used in Palestinian cuisine. One of the most commercially recognized species of these wild edible thistles is Gundelia tournefortii, a common plant in the Mediterranean region. G. tournefortii, or ‘Akoob’ in Arabic, remains uncultivated, harvested wild by local populations and considered highly valuable due to its reputed health benefits. The present study aimed to investigate the anticancer effects of G. tournefortii on the human colon carcinoma HCT‑116 cell line. Methanol and hexane extracts were identified to exert considerable antitumor activity against the HCT‑116 cancer cell line, while the aqueous extract was inactive. The phytochemical profiles of the methanol and hexane extracts were investigated using gas chromatography‑mass spectrometry. A total of 6 of the 27 natural compounds identified, including sitosterol, stigmasterol, lupeol, gitoxigenin, α‑amyrin and artemisinin, have been previously validated as being active against cancerous cells. Therefore, the presence of these phytochemicals in G. tournefortii is of importance in its role in preventing and treating cancer. according to different localities. In Palestinian traditional medicine and ethno‑botany, this plant is believed to possess nutritive and curing benefits for diabetes, epilepsy, stomach and intestinal diseases (3,4). According to the literature, it has been validated to exert antioxidant, hepatoprotective and antibacterial effects (1,5). A previous study (2) conducted among Palestinians eating Akoob on a regular basis revealed a consensus belief of its capability to prevent and cure cancer. However, an intensive search of PubMed (using the terms gundelia tournefortii and cancer; on 12th September 2016) indicates that there is no single study on the effects of G. tournefortii extracts against cancer. The present study aimed to investigate the anticancer effects of G. tournefortii on the human colon cancer HCT‑116 cell line. Gas chromatography‑mass spectrometry (GC‑MS) was utilized to explore the potential phytochemicals responsible for the anticancer activity. A total of 27 constituents were identified in G. tournefortii, of which 6 phytochemicals, including sitosterol, stigmasterol, lupeol, gitoxigenin, α‑amyrin and artemisinin have been demonstrated to exhibit anticancer activities. To the best of our knowledge, the present study was the first to investigate the potential benefits of consuming wild edible G. tournefortii for cancer, and to analyze the phytochemical contents known for their anticancer effects.