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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 125353, 8 pages
Research Article

Apoptosis-Inducing Effect of Three Medicinal Plants on Oral Cancer Cells KB and ORL-48

1Department of Oral Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2Department of Oro-Maxillofacial Surgical and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Received 11 May 2014; Accepted 2 July 2014; Published 24 July 2014

Academic Editor: Chen Yao

Copyright © 2014 Mohd Zabidi Majid 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.


Brucea javanica, Azadirachta indica, and Typhonium flagelliforme are medicinal plants commonly used to treat conditions associated with tumour formation. This study aimed to determine the antiproliferative activity of these plants extracts on KB and ORL-48 oral cancer cell lines and to suggest their mode of cell death. The concentration producing 50% cell inhibition (IC50) was determined and the activity was examined under an inverted microscope. Immunohistochemistry fluorescent staining method (TUNEL) was performed to indicate the mechanism of cell death and the fragmented DNA band pattern produced was obtained for verification. Compared to Azadirachta sp. and Typhonium sp., the antiproliferative activity of Brucea sp. extract was the most potent on both KB and ORL-48 cells with IC50 of 24.37 ± 1.75 and 6.67 ± 1.15 µg/mL, respectively. Signs of cell attrition were observed 24 hr after treatment. Green fluorescent spots indicating cell death by apoptosis were observed in images of both cells following treatment with all the three extracts. DNA fragments harvested from Brucea-treated cells produced bands in a ladder pattern suggesting the apoptotic effect of the extract. It is thus concluded that Brucea sp. extract exhibited cytotoxic activity on ORL-48 cells and their action mechanism is via apoptosis.