A Natural Combination Extract of Viscum album L. Containing Both Triterpene Acids and Lectins Is Highly Effective against AML In Vivo.
PLoS One. 2015;10(8):e0133892. Epub 2015 Aug 5. PMID: 26244918
Catharina I Delebinski
Aqueous Viscum album L. extracts are widely used in complementary cancer medicine. Hydrophobic triterpene acids also possess anti-cancer properties, but due to their low solubility they do not occur in significant amounts in aqueous extracts. Using cyclodextrins we solubilised mistletoe triterpenes (mainly oleanolic acid) and investigated the effect of a mistletoe whole plant extract on human acute myeloid leukaemia cells in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo. Single Viscum album L. extracts containing only solubilised triterpene acids (TT) or lectins (viscum) inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner in vitro and ex vivo. The combination of viscum and TT extracts (viscumTT) enhanced the induction of apoptosis synergistically. The experiments demonstrated that all three extracts are able to induce apoptosis via caspase-8 and -9 dependent pathways with down-regulation of members of the inhibitor of apoptosis and Bcl-2 families of proteins. Finally, the acute myeloid leukaemia mouse model experiment confirmed the therapeutic effectiveness of viscumTT-treatment resulting in significant tumour weight reduction, comparable to the effect in cytarabine-treated mice. These results suggest that the combination viscumTT may have a potential therapeutic value for the treatment AML.