In vitro anticancer efficacy of Cyperus rotundus (L.) on breast adenocarcinoma cells via the induction of DNA fragmentation and apoptosis


  • Hema Nidugala
  • Ashwini Prabhu
  • Ramakrishna Avadhani
  • Ravishankar B.



C. rotundus, cytotoxicity, ; breast cancer, DNA fragmentation, apoptosis


Introduction and Aim: Cyperus rotundus (L.), commonly known as nutgrass, has been in use in Indian medicine traditional system against several ailments. This investigation was performed to assess the in vitro antineoplastic activity of extracts prepared from water and ethanol with C. rotundus rhizomes.


Materials and Methods: Toxic effects induced by the C. rotundus extracts on MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells was evaluated using Sulphorhodamine- B (SRB) Assay, Trypan blue assay, Hoechst nuclear staining assay, Acridine Orange-Ethidium bromide (AO-EB) differential fluorescence staining assay and DNA fragmentation assays.


Results: The results of SRB assay indicated the IC50 value of aqueous extract as 510.887 µg/mL and that of ethanol extract as 122.98 µg/mL. Trypan blue assay also indicated the similar results, wherein ethanol extract exerted higher cytotoxicity compared to the aqueous extract. MCF-7 cells treated with aqueous and ethanol extracts of C. rotundus rhizomes were exposed to Hoechst staining and AO-EB nuclear staining assays, wherein and ethanol extract induced clear apoptotic bodies in the tested cells. Further, the cells were treated with the ethanol extract and DNA fragmentation was confirmed by DNA ladder assay. MCF-7 cells administered with ethanol extract were subjected to DNA fragmentation assay for assessing the apoptosis induction nature of the extract.


Conclusion: Results from our study indicate a promising approach into the possibility of developing C. rotundus ethanol extract into an effective anticancer moiety after appropriate pre-clinical and clinical validations.

Author Biographies

Hema Nidugala

Department of Anatomy, Kanachur Institute of Medical Sciences, Deralakatte, Mangalore, 575018, Karnataka, India

Ashwini Prabhu

Yenepoya Research Centre, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Deralakatte, Mangalore, 575018, Karnataka, India

Ramakrishna Avadhani

Department of Anatomy, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), Deralakatte, Mangalore, 575018, Karnataka, India

Ravishankar B.

BRS Research Adviser, Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Former Director, SDM Centre for Research in Ayurveda and Allied Sciences, Udupi, Karnataka, India


Jayakar, V., Lokapur, V., Nityasree, B.R., Chalannavar, R.K., Lasrado, L.D., Shantaram, M. Optimization and green synthesis of zinc oxide nanoparticle using Garcinia cambogia leaf and evaluation of their antioxidant and anticancer property in kidney cancer (A498) cell lines. Biomedicine. 2021; 41(2):206-222.

Arya, R.K., Singh, A., Yadav, N.K., Cheruvu, S.H., Hossain, Z., Meena, S. Anti-breast tumor activity of Eclipta extract in-vitro and in-vivo: novel evidence of endoplasmic reticulum specific localization of Hsp60 during apoptosis. Sci Rep. 2015; 5:18457.

Rajendra, C.H., Kedari, G.S. Role of antioxidant levelsand lipid peroxidationin patients with breast cancer. Biomedicine. 2020; 40(2):170-174.

Kennecke, H., Yerushalmi, R., Woods, R. Metastatic behaviour of breast cancer subtypes. J Clin Oncol. 2010; 28:3271-3277.

Ramya, R., Chandru, R., Begum, Z., Suryaraj, S., Manoj, S. Awareness regarding breast cancer among urban women in South India. Biomedicine. 2021; 41(4):845-848.

Sun, Y.S., Zhao, Z., Yang, Z.N. Risk factors and preventions of breast cancer. Int J Biol Sci. 2017; 13:1387-1397.

Koren, S., Bentires-Alj, M. Breast tumor heterogeneity: source of fitness, hurdle for therapy. Mol Cell. 2015; 60:537-546.

Macdonald, J.S. Toxicity of 5-Fluorouracil. Oncol. 1999; 13:33–34.

Lokapur, V., Jayakar, V., Shantaram, M. Preliminary phytochemical screening, physicochemical analysis and in-vitro antioxidant activity of selected Holigarna species-Endemic plant species of Western Ghats. Biomedicine. 2020;40(4):460-466.

Jayakar, V., Lokapur, V., Shantaram, M. Identification of the volatile bioactive compounds by GC-MS analysis from the leaf extracts of Garcinia cambogia and Garcinia indica. Med Plants. 2020;12(4):580-590.

Lokapur, V., Jayakar, V., Shantaram, M. Phytochemical investigation, chemical composition and in vitro antioxidant activities of various crude extracts of Holigarna ferrugenia Marchand. Med Plants. 2022;14(1):72-83.

Cragg, G.M., Grothaus, P.G., Newman, D.J. Impact of natural products on developing new anti-cancer agents. Chem Rev. 2009; 109:3012-3043.

Seca, A.M.L., Pinto, D.C.G. Plant secondary metabolites as anticancer agents: Successes in clinical trials and therapeutic application. Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19:283.

Bezerra, J.J., Pinheiro, A.A. Traditional uses, phytochemistry, and anticancer potential of Cyperus rotundus L.(Cyperaceae): A systematic review. South African J Botany. 2022; 144:175-186.

Sivapalan, S.R. Medicinal uses and pharmacological activities of Cyperus rotundus Linn- A review. Int J Sci Res Pub. 2013; 3:1-8.

Lokapur, V., Jayakar, V., Divakar, M. S., Chalannavar, R. K., Lasrado, L., Shantaram, M. ZnO nanoparticles with spectroscopically controlled morphology, bioinspired from Holigarna grahamii (Wight) Kurz and delving its antioxidant and anticancer potential on A498 cell line. Materials Today Commun. 2022; 31:103338.

Jayakar, V., Lokapur, V., Shantaram, M. In-vitro antioxidant and selective cytotoxicity of Garcinia cambogia and Garcinia indica leaf extracts on human kidney cancer cell line. Int J Res Pharma Sci. 2021; 12(3):1718-1728.

Anand, P., Kunnumakkara, A.B., Sundaram, C., Harikumar, K.B., Tharakan, S.T., Lai, O.S. et al., Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes. Pharm Res. 2008; 25:2097-2116.

Ogbole, O.O., Segun, P.A., Adeniji, A.J. In vitro cytotoxic activity of medicinal plants from Nigeria ethnomedicine on Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer cell line and HPLC analysis of active extracts. BMC Comp Altern Med. 2017; 17:494.

Ulukaya, E., Acilan, C., Ari, F., Ikitimur, E., Yilmaz, Y. A glance at the methods for detection of apoptosis qualitatively and quantitatively. Turkish J Biochem. 2011; 36:261-269.

Kumar, H., Savaliya, M., Biswas, S., Nayak, P.G., Maliyakkal, N., Manjunath, S.M. et al., Assessment of the in vitro cytotoxicity and in vivo anti-tumor activity of the alcoholic stem bark extract/fractions of Mimusops elengi Linn. Cytotechnol. 2016; 68:861-877.

Walker, P.R., Sikorska, M. New aspects of the mechanism of DNA fragmentation in apoptosis. Biochem Cell Biol. 1997; 75:287-299.




How to Cite

Nidugala H, Prabhu A, Avadhani R, B. R. In vitro anticancer efficacy of Cyperus rotundus (L.) on breast adenocarcinoma cells via the induction of DNA fragmentation and apoptosis. Biomedicine [Internet]. 2023 Sep. 18 [cited 2023 Oct. 4];43(4):1198-202. Available from:



Original Research Articles

Plum Analytics 

Most read articles by the same author(s)