Methanolic Extracts of Bitter Melon Inhibit Colon Cancer Stem Cells by Affecting Energy Homeostasis and Autophagy

Bitter melon fruit is recommended in ancient Indian and Chinese medicine for prevention/treatment of diabetes. However its effects on cancer progression are not well understood. Here, we have determined the efficacy of methanolic extracts of bitter melon on colon cancer stem and progenitor cells. Both, whole fruit (BMW) and skin (BMSk) extracts showed significant inhibition of cell proliferation and colony formation, with BMW showing greater efficacy. In addition, the cells were arrested at the S phase of cell cycle. Moreover, BMW induced the cleavage of LC3B but not caspase 3/7, suggesting that the cells were undergoing autophagy and not apoptosis.

 By Bhaskaranaidu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Bhaskaranaidu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons