Abstract Title:

Anticancer properties of Prunus mume extracts (Chinese plum, Japanese apricot).

Abstract Source:

J Ethnopharmacol. 2020 Jan 10 ;246:112215. Epub 2019 Sep 3. PMID: 31491438

Abstract Author(s):

Christian Bailly

Article Affiliation:

Christian Bailly


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Extracts of the fruit of Prunus mume (Rosaceae) have been used for a long time in Eastern Asia, in many culinary and medicinal preparations. The plant originates from the south of mainland China (named méi) and was introduced later in Japan (ume), Korea (maesil) and Vietnam (mai or mo). Extracts of the fruits (Chinese plum or Japanese apricot, 'Nanko' mume cultivar of Prunus mume Sieb. et Zucc.) are used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, and various Korean medical preparations, for more than 2000 years. The medicinal use of the flesh of the fruits is cited in ancient Japanese monographies (such as Shokokukodenhiho published in 1817).

AIM OF THE STUDY: To analyze the anticancer activities of P. mume extracts and their potential use to prevent or treat cancers. The use of P. mume extracts to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy, notably drug-induced gastro-intestinal toxicities, is also reviewed.

METHODS: Extensive database retrieval, such as SciFinder and PubMed, was performed by using keywords such as"Prunus mume","Chinese plum","Japanese apricot", and"cancer". In addition, relevant textbooks, patents, reviews, and digital documents (in English) were consulted to collate all available scientific literature and to provide a complete science-based survey of the topic.

RESULTS: P. mume extracts display hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and antibacterial effects, as well as anticancer properties. A survey of the antitumor activities of MK615 and other P. mume extracts is provided here, with information about the natural products found in the extracts (such as ursolic acid and oleanic acid) and the mechanisms of action of these extracts. MK615 inhibits proliferation and induces apoptotic death of different types of cancer cells from both solid and hematological tumors.

CONCLUSION: The pool of in vitro data and signs of anticancer activities in mice models and in Human, although very limited, support the use of this extract to treat cancer, notably gastro-intestinal tumors. However, more robust evidence of anticancer activity in Human are awaited. Beyond cancer treatment, the use of P. mume extracts to prevent or to treat mucositis and other gastro-intestinal damages induced by anticancer drugs is underlined. The woody plant Prunus mume, a member of the Rosaceae family, has a long plantation history in China, and has widely been planted in Asia due to its high ornamental value (colorful corollas, pleasant fragrance, weeping trait) and the culinary, nutritional and medicinal potential of the fruits from the specie Prunus mume Sieb. et Zucc (Mei). Over the past 20 years the therapeutic potential of the extract of Japanese apricot"Ume"has been regularly reported. Anti-bacterial, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties have been described. A complete analysis of the published scientific literature on Ume and cancer is presented here.

Study Type : Review

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