Based on compounds extracted from parsley and dill seeds, a team of Russian scientists proposed an efficient approach to synthesizing novel compounds with anticancer activity.1

“Both improvement of existing therapies and search for innovative approaches are essential components of a quest to treat cancer. Our combined team developed a simple method of producing glaziovianin A and its structural analogs, which inhibit the growth of human tumor cells, using feasible building blocks from nature. Furthermore, evaluation of these novel agents in vivo using our validated sea urchin embryo assays yielded several promising candidates selectively affecting tubulin dynamics,” said professor Alexander Kiselev, PhD, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).

The compound acts to stop mitosis, the process of cell division, which is also what chemotherapy targets. The study focused on the potent antimitotic agent glaziovianin A, isolated from the leaves of the Brazilian tree Ateleia glazioviana Baill. That agent and related compounds were synthesized. Antitumor activity was tested through 2 independent methods by using sea urchin embryos and human cancer cells.

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Tests in human cancer cells included lung carcinoma; melanoma; and prostate, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers. The experiments showed that the test substances were effective at limiting the growth of melanoma cells, and nontoxic to healthy blood cells used as a control.

Detailed structure-activity relationship studies in both assay systems converged on the parent glasiovianin A to be the most active antitubulin agent. Future plans include both optimization of the compound to improve its metabolic stability and solubility as well as human xenograft studies in mice to confirm antitumor activity and clinical development potential.


1. Semenov VV, Tsyganov DV, Semenova MN, et al. Efficient synthesis of glaziovianin A isoflavone series from dill and parsley extracts and their in vitro/in vivo antimitotic activity. J Nat Prod. 2016;79(5):1429-1438.