Bitter melon demonstrates anti-tumor activity. - GreenMedInfo Summary
In vivo antitumor activity of the bitter melon (Momordica charantia).
Cancer Res. 1983 Nov;43(11):5151-5. PMID: 6616452
The in vivo antitumor activity of a crude extract from the bitter melon (Momordica charantia) was determined. The extract inhibited tumor formation in CBA/H mice which had been given i.p. injections of 1.0 X 10(5) CBA/Dl tumor cells (77% of the untreated mice with tumors versus 33% of the treated mice with tumors after 6 weeks). The extract also inhibited tumor formation in DBA/2 mice which had been given i.p. injections of either 1 X 10(5) P388 tumor cells (0% of untreated mice survived after 30 days versus 40% survival of the treated mice) or 1 X 10(5) L1210 tumor cells (0% survival of untreated mice versus 100% of treated mice after 30 days). The in vivo antitumor effect required both the prior exposure of tumor cells to the extract (2 hr) in vitro and i.p., biweekly injections of the extract into the mice. The optimum dose for tumor inhibition (8 micrograms protein, biweekly, i.p.) was not toxic to mice for at least 45 days of treatment. This same treatment caused a marked enhancement of C3H mouse thymic cell response to concanavalin A in vitro. When compared to the untreated control mice, the bitter melon-injected animals exhibited a 4-fold-higher incorporation of tritiated thymidine into trichloroacetic acid-precipitable material after 48 hr of exposure to 50 micrograms of concanavalin A. Nylon wool-purified spleen cells from these same bitter melon-treated mice exhibited an enhanced mixed lymphocyte reaction when exposed to irradiated P388 stimulator cells (186% of the untreated control mice). These data indicate that in vivo enhancement of immune functions may contribute to the antitumor effects of the bitter melon extract.