81P - A new isoquinoline alkaloid bersavine as a possible anticancer agent

Date 11 September 2017
Event ESMO 2017 Congress
Session Poster display session
Topics Cancer biology
Basic Scientific Principles
Presenter Klára Habartová
Citation Annals of Oncology (2017) 28 (suppl_5): v1-v21. 10.1093/annonc/mdx361
Authors K. Habartová1, R. Havelek1, M. Seifrtova1, A. Hostalkova2, L. Cahlikova2, M. Rezacova1
  • 1Department Of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Charles University, 50003 - Hradec Kralove/CZ
  • 2Adinaco Research Group, Department Of Pharmaceutical Botany And Ecology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Charles University, 50005 - Hradec Kralove/CZ



Plants have had crucial role in the folklore of ancient cultures for over 5000 years. In addition to the use as food or spices, plants have also been utilized as medicine. Two remaining living traditions, the traditional Indian and Eastern medicine, have contributed most to the current state of knowledge related to medicinal plants. In their folklore, herbal medicines were prepared e.g. as teas or tinctures. These products are used as complementary treatment alongside conventional drugs till today. Another trend begun in the early 19th cent., which involved the isolation of active compounds from plants. This tendency led to the discovery of the analgesic alkaloids morphine and codeine or the cardiac glycoside digitoxin. Recently, a new alkaloid bersavine was isolated from Berberis vulgaris, along berbamine and berberine.


The dried root bark from Berberis vulgaris was minced and extracted with EtOH. The extract was evaporated, dissolved in HCl and extracted with nonpolar solvent. After the second extraction column chromatography on Al2O3 was performed. Subsequently was executed preparative TLC, which reveal a yet unknown alkaloid, later identified by MS and NMR analysis and named bersavine. Effect of bersavine on viability and proliferation was evaluated by WST assay and Trypan blue staining. Next was analysed its impact on cell cycle and apoptosis using the flow cytometry, activity of caspases and Western blot analysis of regulatory proteins was implemented.


Bersavine's effect on cancer cells was first evaluated on panel of 9 different cell lines. Cancer cell lines MOLT-4, Jurkat, HT-29, HeLa and MCF-7 appear to be the most sensitive to the effect of bersavine. Follow-up experiments revealed that bersavine reduced cell viability and proliferation in a dose dependent manner within 24 h of treatment. Moreover, the reduction of cell viability was even more pronounce 48 h following the treatment. The decrease in cell viability was caused by the induction of apoptosis and activation of caspases.


All acquired results suggest that bersavine has very promising activity and it would be worthwhile to subject it to further evaluation.

Clinical trial identification

Legal entity responsible for the study

Charles University, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove


Grant Agency of Charles University (Project No. 932616) and SVV-260397/2017.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.