Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Cytotoxic and Apoptogenic Activity of a Methanolic Extract from the Marine Invertebrate Ciona intestinalis on Malignant Cell Lines

[ Vol. 4 , Issue. 2 ]


Elisabetta Tosti, Gian Luigi Russo, Gaetano Ciarcia, Emilio Presidente and Rosa Anna Siciliano   Pages 106 - 109 ( 4 )


Marine invertebrates provide a series of natural products with different biological activities. Several of these compounds and their derivatives showed a potent anticancer effect. Tunicates represent an important source of bioactive agents, leading to the isolation of ecteinascidin-743 (ET-743), a compound isolated from the Caribbean sea squirt Ecteinascidia turbinata with a potent cytotoxic activity against a variety of tumours in vitro and in vivo. Current phase II clinical trials against soft tissue sarcomas in Europe and the United States indicate that ET-743 represents a highly promising anticancer agent. Another example is aplidine from the Mediterranean tunicate Aplidium albicans, with a broad spectrum activity against various types of cancers, such as colorectal, lymphoma, thyroid and renal cancers. In the present work, we reported, for the first time, that a partially purified methanolic extract prepared from the ascidian Ciona intestinalis inhibited cell proliferation in human cell lines of different origin, including Caco2, HPB-ALL, U-937 and HL-60 and induced early apoptotic events, such as caspase-3 activation and internucleosomal DNA degradation. We suggest the presence in the Ciona intestinalis extract of bioactive compounds possessing anticancer activity.


Invertebrate, tunicate, ascidian, Ciona intestinalis, apoptosis, cytotoxicity


Laboratory of Cell Biology. Stazione Zoologica di Napoli, Villa Comunale, 80121, Napoli, Italy.

Read Full-Text article