Background: According to recent statistics, cancer accounts about marked percentage of total deaths in the world, although there are many therapeutic approaches. Unfortunately, the cytotoxicity properties of most chemotherapy drug are nonspecific and therefore do not distinguish between normal healthy cells and tumor cells, these events have led to inappropriate and toxic therapeutic agents with a wide range of side effects. However, several experimental and epidemiological studies have suggested that fruits and vegetables are associated with low risk of various types of cancer. Anthocyanins are natural pigments that provide intense purple to red color in plants. Anthocyanin possess the ability to inhibit oxidative stress and to induce apoptosis in malignant cells, thus may prevent carcinogenesis. Methods: Antiproliferative properties of purified anthocyanin extract from elicited cell suspension cultures of Begonia malabarica and Begonia rex-cultorum ‘Baby rainbow’ was investigated in terms of MTT assay. Anthocyanin extracts were tested for their ability to inhibit the growth of HT29 (colon cancer cells), MG63 (Osteosarcoma), HeLa (Cervical cancer cells) and L929 (Mouse Fibroblast L929) cell lines. Results: Cell viability decreased in a dose dependent manner in all the considered cell lines treated with anthocyanin extracts. The extract of Begonia rex-cultorum ‘Baby rainbow’ exhibited significant cytotoxic activity against all tumor cell lines than Begonia malabarica extract. Begonia malabarica and Begonia rex-cultorum ‘Baby rainbow’ anthocyanin extract exhibited the highest cytotoxicity towards HT29 and HeLa cell lines respectively. But, MG63 resulted in comparatively higher percentage of viability of cell lines at the same concentrations. The anthocyanin extract produced significant morphological alterations on cell lines in culture. Meanwhile, the extracts showed poor cytotoxicity against the normal cell line. Conclusion: The morphological alteration of the treated cancer cells presented clear evidence of significant cytotoxicity of anthocyanin extracts of both Begonias in all the three cell lines. Thus, anthocyanin may act as chemopreventive agents for various cancer cell lines.
Key words: Cytotoxicity, Cancer, Begonia, MTT assay, Anthocyanin, Cell suspension.