Objective: In Indian sub-continent occurrence of cervical cancer is second among women. Most cervical cancer cases are associated with HPV 16. In this study, the anti-proliferative activity of chloroform fraction of methanolic extract of Heliotropium indicum was studied in a panel of cervical cancer cell lines. Methods: HeLa (HPV 18 positive), SiHa (HPV 16 positive) and C33A (HPV negative) cells were treated with IC50 doses and experiments were performed to evaluate the cell death process. To chemically characterize the extract fraction, GC-MS, LC-MS and column chromatography were performed. Results: Typical apoptotic features were found in the treated cells. Most cells were found in late apoptotic stages. In HeLa and C33A cell lines, cells were blocked at G1/S, in SiHa, subG0 population increased. Expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 decreased and that of pro-apoptotic BAX, p53, p21 increased. Expression of HPV16 and human ET-1 also decreased. ROS mediated DNA damage was detected. Different fatty acids along with other compounds like phenolics, alkaloids were detected in the chloroform fraction, all of which are reported to have anticancer properties. Conclusion: From the study, it can be concluded that fatty acid rich chloroform fraction of H. indicum is capable of inducing apoptosis in cervical cancer cells, through ROS mediated DNA damage.
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