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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

In vitro anticancer screening of 24 locally used Nigerian medicinal plants

Saudat Adamson Fadeyi13, Olugbeminiyi O Fadeyi24, Adedeji A Adejumo5, Cosmas Okoro2 and Elbert Lewis Myles1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd, Nashville, TN 37217, USA

2 Department of Chemistry, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd, Nashville, TN 37217, USA

3 Department of Internal Medicine Meharry Medical College, 1005 Dr. D. B. Todd, Jr. Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208, USA

4 Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

5 Department of Wildlife and Eco-tourism Management, Federal College of Wildlife Management, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, New Bussa, Niger State, Nigeria

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:79  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-79

Published: 8 April 2013



Plants that are used as traditional medicine represent a relevant pool for selecting plant candidates that may have anticancer properties. In this study, the ethnomedicinal approach was used to select several medicinal plants native to Nigeria, on the basis of their local or traditional uses. The collected plants were then evaluated for cytoxicity.


The antitumor activity of methanolic extracts obtained from 24 of the selected plants, were evaluated in vitro on five human cancer cell lines.


Results obtained from the plants screened indicate that 18 plant extracts of folk medicine exhibited promising cytotoxic activity against human carcinoma cell lines. Erythrophleum suaveolens (Guill. & Perr.) Brenan was found to demonstrate potent anti-cancer activity in this study exhibiting IC50 = 0.2-1.3 μg/ml.


Based on the significantly potent activity of some plants extracts reported here, further studies aimed at mechanism elucidation and bio-guided isolation of active anticancer compounds is currently underway.

Nigeria; Anti-cancer; Ethnomedicine; Cytotoxic activity