African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12428

Full Length Research Paper

Active principle from Moringa oleifera Lam leaves effective against two leukemias and a hepatocarcinoma

Mutasim M. Khalafalla1, Eltayb Abdellatef1, Hussain Mohammed Dafalla1, Amr A. Nassrallah2, Khalid M. Aboul-Enein3, David A. Lightfoot4, Fadl E. El-Deeb5and Hany A. El-Shemy2*
  1Commission for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, P.O. Box 2404 Khartoum, Sudan. 2Faculty of Agriculture Research Park (FARP) and Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, 12613Giza, Egypt. 3Department of Clinical Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. 4Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-4415, USA. 5Home Economics Department. Facauty of Specific Education, Domietta, Mansoura University, Egypt.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 03 September 2010
  •  Published: 06 December 2010



Medicinal plants are important elements of indigenous medical system that have persisted in developing countries. Many of the pharmacological principles currently used as anticancer agents were first isolated from plants. However, some important anticancer agents are still extracted from plants because they cannot be synthesized chemically on a commercial scale due to their complex structures that often contain several chiral centers. The aim of this study was to test different extracts from the leaves of Moringa or drumstick tree (Moringa oleifera) for activity against leukemia and hepatocarcinoma cells in vitro. The extracts could kill majority (70 - 86%) of the abnormal cells among primary cells harvested from 10 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 15 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as well as a culture of hepatocarcinoma cells (75% death), but most significantly by the hot water and ethanol extracts. In conclusion, M. oleifera may have potential for use as source of natural treatment for diseases such as cancer.


Key words: Moringa oleifera, anti-cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, hepatocarcinoma.



Abbreviations: ALL, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia; AML, acute myeloid leukemia;DPPH, 2,2'-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl; HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma; HpG2,hepatocellular carcinoma cell line; DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide.