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Antiproliferative activity of hexane extract from Tunisian Cistus libanotis, Cistus monspeliensis and Cistus villosus

Mariem Ben Jemia1, Mohamed Elyes Kchouk1, Felice Senatore2, Giuseppina Autore3, Stefania Marzocco3, Vincenzo De Feo3* and Maurizio Bruno4

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratoire des Plantes Extremophiles - Biotechnologic Center Borj-Cedria Technopark, B.P. 901, 2050, Hammam-Lif, Tunisie

2 Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples “Federico II”, Via D. Montesano, 49-80131, Naples, Italy

3 Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084, Fisciano (Salerno), Italy

4 Department STEMBIO, Sect. of Organic Chemistry, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Parco d’Orleans II, 90128, Palermo, Italy

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Chemistry Central Journal 2013, 7:47  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-47

Published: 5 March 2013



As a part of our investigation on Tunisian medicinal plants, we have carried out a phytochemical investigation of the hexane extracts from leaves of Cistus libanotis, C. villosus and C. monspeliensis, evualuating also their possible antiproliferative activity in vitro.


The major compounds of hexane extracts were identified and quantified by GC-MS. The composition of the three species, although belonging to the same genus, is completely different. The antiproliferative activity was evaluated against murine monocyte/macrophages (J774.A1), human melanoma cells (A-375), and human breast cancer cells (MCF-7), showing major activity against the human melanoma cell line A-375.


The chemical composition of the hexane extracts from the three Cistus species can be useful in the chemosystematics of this complex genus. The preliminary antiproliferative activity against human melanoma cell line A-375 deserve further investigations in order to determine the compounds, or their combinations, which are the main responsible for the antiproliferative activity and its possible mechanism(s) of action.