Calotropin, a Cytotoxic Principle Isolated from Asclepias curassavica L

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Science  25 Dec 1964:
Vol. 146, Issue 3652, pp. 1685-1686
DOI: 10.1126/science.146.3652.1685


An alcoholic extract of Asclepias curassavica L., a plant widely used in folk medicine for treating cancer and warts, shows cytotoxic activity when tested in vitro against cells derived from human carcinoma of the nasopharynx. Systematic fractionation of the extract has led to isolation and characterization of calotropin as a cytotoxic principle. Calotropin is similar in structure to two cardiac glycosides recently shown to be responsible for the cytotoxicity of Apocynum cannabinum L.