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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 637098, 10 pages
Research Article

Apoptotic and Inhibitory Effects on Cell Proliferation of Hepatocellular Carcinoma HepG2 Cells by Methanol Leaf Extract of Costus speciosus

1Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University, Truro, NS, Canada B2N 5E3
2Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Karapitiya, Sri Lanka

Received 18 October 2013; Revised 1 February 2014; Accepted 4 February 2014; Published 10 April 2014

Academic Editor: Paul J. Higgins

Copyright © 2014 Sandhya V. G. Nair et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Costus speciosus is a medicinal plant commonly known as wild ginger distributed in South and Southeast Asian countries. Leaves of this plant are used for ayurvedic treatment regimes in malignancies and mental illness. Rhizome extract from the plant is used to treat malignancies, pneumonia, urinary disorders, jaundice, rheumatism, and diabetes. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of methanol extract of leaves of C. speciosus on the growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells and understand possible mechanisms of its action. Viability of HepG2 cells were measured by MTS assay after 24 h and 48 h treatment with extracts of 1, 10, 50, 100, and 200 μg/mL concentrations. Cell cycle analysis and apoptosis were evaluated by flow cytometry and caspase-3 induction. HepG2 cells treated with 100 μg/mL methanol leaf extract for 24 h displayed a significant reduction in cell viability . The methanol extract perturbed cell cycle progression, modulated cell cycle and regulated, signal molecules were involved in induction of apoptosis in HepG2 cells. Our findings indicate that phytochemicals of leaves of C. speciosus shows potential for natural therapeutic product development for hepatocellular carcinoma. This is the first report to demonstrate in vitro anticancer activity of leaf extract of C. speciosus in relation to liver cancer.