UNAIR scientist discovers anticancer compound in red mahang plants

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – A lecturer of Faculty of Science and Technology, Universitas Airlangga, has conducted a research on red mahang (Macaranga recurvata Gage) plants. These plants are found in Kalimantan and are often used as firewood. But as it develops, the plant contains a variety of secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids and stilbenes.

Dra. Tjitjik Srie Tjahjandarie, Ph.D said that the plant has the potential to be an anticancer drug. The leaves content showed the presence of active secondary metabolite compounds, such as isoprenilated flavanones which is very active against blood cancer cells (murine leukemia cell P 388).

“The results of tests on various cancer cells above, showed that the found compound flavestin K has a high activity against uterine cancer cells (HeLa cells) and was not active against other cancer cells,” said Tjitjik.

The finding of the compound, she explained, were tested on three cancer cells, Hela cancer cells, WiDr colon cancer cells and T47D breast cancer cells. Seeing these results, Tjijik said that the results of the study showed very good prospects for the health world in finding anti-cancer drugs based on safer natural ingredients.

“The discovery gave hopes for women who are very prone to cervical cancer,” she said.

All this time, she said, treatment of uterine cancer is carried out using drugs from the alkylating compound, antimetabolites, anticancer natural products, hormones, and other classes. From all those anticancer drugs, cancer drugs based on natural ingredients are preferred by cancer sufferers because they are considered safer.

“This could be an alternative medicine for cancer patients,” she concluded. (*)

Author: Khefti Al Mawalia

Editor: Nuri Hermawan



Tjahjandarie TS , Tanjung M , Saputri RD , Nadar PB , Aldin MF , EvaMarliana , Permadi A. 2019. Flavestin K, An isoprenylated Stilbene from the Leaves of Macaranga recurvata Gage , Natural Product Sciences, 25 (3), 244-247.

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