Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry, College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, P.M.B. 4000, Ogbomoso. Nigeria.
Pharmacological exploitation of natural compounds has continued to lead to development of non-synthetic and non-toxic anticancer agents that are promising at ameliorating the menace of neoplastic diseases such as leukemia. This study is an attempt to determine the chemopreventive and antileukemic activities of ethanol extracts of Moringa oleifera leaves on benzene induced leukemia bearing rats. Leukemia was induced by intravenous injection of 0.2 mL benzene solution 48 hourly for 4 weeks in appropriate rat groups. Ethanol extract of Moringa oleifera (EMO) leaves was administered at 0.2 mL of 100 mg/mL to respective treatment rat groups. A standard antileukemic drug (cyclophosphamide) was also used to treat appropriate rat groups. Clinical examination of liver and spleen with hematological parameters were employed to assess the leukemia burden following analysis of the rat blood samples on Sysmex KX-21N automated instrument. Leukemia induction reflected in severe anemia and a marked leukocytosis over the control/baseline group. Liver and spleen enlargements were also observed in group exposed to benzene carcinogen. The in vivo antioxidative potential of EMO was evaluated using Malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels. The liver MDA and GSH levels obtained in benzene induced leukemic rats treated with EMO compared favorably with those obtained in similar treatments with the standard drug (p< 0.05). The extract demonstrated chemopreventive and anti-leukemic activities as much as the standard anti-leukemic drug (p>0.05) by ameliorating the induced leukemic condition in the affected rat groups owing to its bioactive constituents. This study reveals that the extract might be an active, natural and non-toxic anticancer drug lead.