There are many plants in Mexico with medicinal properties; some of them such as Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. from the Cucurbitaceae family, are used as alternative cancer therapies. However, there are no scientific reports that validate their antitumour properties. In this work, the in vitro antiproliferative activity of crude ethanol extracts from fruits was examined in eight varietal groups of S. edule: vicis®, wild type chayote, bernyano®, nejalpa®,maluca®, bhezco®, cambray® and lucpo®. The extracts were screened for their possible anti-tumour activity using the crystal violet assay on three cancer cell lines: human cervical carcinoma (HeLa), mouse lung fibrosarcoma (L929) and mouse macrophage leukaemia (P388). All varietal groups exhibited anti-proliferative activity against all tumour cell lines tested. The degree of cytotoxicity of the cambray® and lucpo® extracts was dependent on the cell line, and neither of these varietal groups had a significant effect on L929 cells. Finally, the IC50 values for the vicis® and bernyano® extracts, which are both edible, and wild type chayote, revealed that these varieties exhibited antiproliferative activity in all cell lines tested. These results provide further support for some varieties of S. edule to be considered natural resources with anti-tumour effects.
Key words: Chayote varieties, extracts, antiproliferative effect, cancer, leukaemia.
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