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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 517931, 8 pages
Research Article

The Antitumor Effects of Triterpenoid Saponins from the Anemone flaccida and the Underlying Mechanism

Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine Resource and Compound Prescription of the Ministry of Education, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan 430065, China

Received 22 June 2013; Revised 14 August 2013; Accepted 20 August 2013

Academic Editor: Shrikant Anant

Copyright © 2013 Lin-Tao Han 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.


Anemone flaccida Fr. Schmidt, a family of ancient hopanoids, have been used as traditional Asian herbs for the treatments of inflammation and convulsant diseases. Previous study on HeLa cells suggested that triterpenoid saponins from Anemone flaccida Fr. Schmidt may have potential antitumor effect due to their apoptotic activities. Here, we confirmed the apoptotic activities of the following five triterpenoid saponins: glycoside St-I4a (1), glycoside St-J (2), anhuienoside E (3), hedera saponin B (4), and flaccidoside II (5) on human BEL-7402 and HepG2 hepatoma cell lines, as well as the model of HeLa cells treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We found that COX-2/PGE2 signaling pathway, which plays key roles in the development of cancer, is involved in the antitumor activities of these saponins. These data provide the evidence that triterpenoid saponins can induce apoptosis via COX-2/PGE2 pathway, implying a preventive role of saponins from Anemone flaccida in tumor.