Black nightshade reduces growth of cancerous tumors

Researchers continue to discover more health benefits that plants can offer. In a recent study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, a team of researchers from Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan found that the black nightshade plant (Solanum nigrum) may be used to prevent tumor growth.

Black nightshade is an edible plant that is used in traditional medicine and has been reported to possess anticancer activities. In the study, the research team looked at whether the water or polyphenol extracts of black nightshade could inhibit angiogenesis-mediated tumor growth. (Related: Scientific analysis of the health benefits of digestive pills made from black nightshade.)

They found that in nude mice bearing tumor xenografts, both extracts of black nightshade significantly reduced the volume and weight of the tumors, as well as the expression of CD31, which is a marker for angiogenesis. Both extracts of black nightshade also inhibited the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced capillary structure formation of endothelial cells. Results of the chicken egg chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) and Matrigel plug assays further demonstrated that black nightshade extracts could inhibit tumor angiogenesis.

In human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs), water and polyphenol extracts of black nightshade suppressed the VEGF-induced activation of AKT and mTOR. In addition, both extracts of black nightshade inhibited the viability of human hepatoma HepG2 cells, and these effects were associated with the extent of inhibition of the AKT/mTOR pathway, an intracellular signaling pathway important in the regulation of the cell cycle.


With these results, the research team concluded that black nightshade can stop tumor growth and angiogenesis by downregulating the AKT/mTOR pathway in HUVECs and HepG2 cells.

Study suggests black nightshade polysaccharide inhibits tumor growth by boosting the immune response

A study published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules examined the effects of SN-ppF3, a polysaccharide fraction of black nightshade, on suppressing tumors. The study’s researchers, who were from the University of Malaya and the University Putra Malaysia, used the polysaccharide because it has been previously shown to have an immunomodulatory activity that could be used to enhance the host immune response in fighting cancer.

In the study, the researchers fed breast tumor bearing-mice with 250 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of non-toxic SN-ppF3 for 10 days. During the treatment period, they measured the size of the tumor and weight of the mice. At the end of the treatment, blood, tumor, spleen, and thymus were harvested for physiological and immunological analyses.

Results showed that treatment with the black nightshade polysaccharide significantly reduced the tumor volume and tumor weight of the mice. Additionally, the treatment of SN-ppF3 disrupted the morphology of tumor cells. Moreover, the treatment induced tumor cell death, increased anti-inflammatory activities, and decreased inflammation in mice.

From these findings, the researchers concluded that treatment with black nightshade may suppress tumor growth by boosting immunity.

Polysaccharides in black nightshade suppress tumor growth by inducing cell death

In another study, researchers from China investigated the ability of black nightshade polysaccharides to suppress the growth of liver cancer cells in mice. Their findings suggested that black nightshade polysaccharides can inhibit the growth of tumors in mice by inducing programmed cancer cell death.

For the study, the researchers treated mice with liver cancer with different doses of black nightshade polysaccharides for 10 days. After the treatment period, they found that black nightshade polysaccharide treatment reduced the average tumor weight and inhibited tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner.

The researchers also measured the effect of black nightshade polysaccharides on the index of the thymus, which is used to assess the inhibitory effect of drugs on immune function.  Results showed that the treatment increased the index of the thymus, indicating immune function protection.

Published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, the results suggested that black nightshade can inhibit tumor growth and boost immunity in the liver by regulating caspase-3 and bcl-2, subsequently leading to cancer cell death.

Read more articles on tumor-suppressing effects of black nightshade at

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