Isolation of anticancer constituents from Cucumis prophetarum var. prophetarum through bioassay-guided fractionation

Abdulrhman Alsayari, Lucas Kopel, Mahmoud Salama Ahmed, Hesham S.M. Soliman, Sivakumar Annadurai, Fathi T. Halaweish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Cucumis prophetarum var. prophetarum is used in Saudi folk medicine for treating liver disorders and grows widely between Abha and Khamis Mushait City, Saudi Arabia. Methods: Bioassay-guided fractionation and purification were used to isolate the main active constituents of Cucumis prophetarum var. prophetarum fruits. These compounds were structurally elucidated using NMR spectroscopy, mass spectral analyses and x-ray crystallography. All fractions, sub-fractions and pure compounds were screened for their anticancer activity against six cancer cell lines. Results: The greatest cytotoxic activity was found to be in the ethyl acetate fraction, resulting in the isolation of five cucurbitacin compounds [E, B, D, F-25 acetate and Hexanorcucurbitacin D]. Among the cucurbitacins that were isolated and tested cucurbitacin B and E showed potent cytotoxicity activities against all six human cancer cell lines. Conclusion: Human breast cancer cell lines were found to be the most sensitive to cucurbitacins. Preliminary structure activity relationship (SAR) for cytotoxic activity of Cucurbitacins against human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 has been reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number274
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 9 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer
  • Bioassay-guided fractionation
  • Breast cancer
  • Cucumis prophetarum var. prophetarum
  • Cucurbitacins
  • Preliminary SAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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