PTA = potato tumor induction assay; MTS = dimethylthiazole in vitro assay; MUTA = Muta-ChromoPlate assay; HPLC = high-performance liquid chromatography.
• Glycerol extracts were inhibitory in the potato tumor inhibition assay.
• Upon S9 activation, glycerol extracts had no effect on cervical cancer cells, but increased the metabolic activity of breast cancer cells.
• Upon S9 activation, glycerol extracts were found to be mutagenic in the Muta-Chro-moPlate assay.
Dried Root Complex
• Dried root complex samples were inhibitory in the potato tumor inhibition assay.
• Upon S9 activation, dried root complex samples had no effect on cervical cancer cells, but increased the metabolic activity of breast cancer cells.
• Upon S9 activation, dried root complex samples were found to be mutagenic in the Muta-ChromoPlate assay.
• Marker compound analysis showed four major peaks that appeared to be chlorogenic acid, caftaric acid, cynarin, and cichoric acid.
• Upon addition of S9 mix, each of these four peaks was initially degraded, but then caftaric acid, cynarin, and cichoric acid appeared to increase as degradation time was increased. Because cichoric acid and caftaric acid are caffeic acid derivatives, the initial degradation with subsequent increase in peak may have been due to the breakdown of earlier detected peaks.
These results appear to prohibit the use of those Echinacea products analyzed, by carcinoma patients, and serves as a precautionary note for other manufacturers' products. Furthermore, the results confirm the notion that these products require stringent standardization and quality control before they may be considered safe. Only one brand of each formulation was tested in this study, as well as only one breast cancer cell line and one cervical cell line. The variability of these results illustrates the problem of standardization within the herbal preparations industry, and within formulations and brands, as well as the variability within plants. Constituents vary from plant to plant according to environmental conditions, time of harvest, and portion of the plant harvested. In addition to this inherent inter- and intra-plant variability, manufactured products differ according to extract procedures, solvents used, and shelf life.
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