Virgin's mantle and breast cancer findings
Fagonia cretica active constituents exert anti-cancer properties
Active constituents found in the aqueous extract of a flower native to Spanish coasts, locally known as Manto de la Virgen (English: Virgin's mantle), botanical name Fagonia cretica, showed cytotoxic activity against breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, causing p53 associated growth arrest within 5 hours of extract treatment and apoptosis within 24 hours, showing how the aqueous extract of Fagonia cretica can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via p53-dependent and independent mechanisms, with activation of the DNA damage response . Image: Fagonia cretica by Silversyrpher under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0).
The results of the study indicate that Fagonia cretica aqueous extract contains potential anti-cancer agents acting either singly or in combination against breast cancer cell proliferation via DNA damage-induced FOXO3a and p53 expression .
Common name: Virgin's mantle, Manto de la virgen.
50% of cancers in the world today are caused by failures in the regulation of the cell cycle, a cycle that starts with the formation of cells and ends with its apoptosis or programmed cell death. The regulation of this cell cycle is achieved by a protein called p53 (name assigned by its molecular mass).
The protein p53 is a natural tumor suppressor and it is in charge of ordering the human cells when they came to an end of life and it's time to die, process known as apoptosis. For many factors, mainly DNA damage, some times the protein p53 fails, and the tumor cells that were suppose to die in this natural cell cycle known as apoptosis, continue growing, some times in the form of tumors and some times as its malignant form, cancer. Image right: Fagonia cretica by Alberto garcia under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Finding active constituents and molecules that would help to activate this protein has been in the scope of scientists and researchers since years ago, some of them with very good results as the 3,3'-Diindolylmethane or DIM, a cancer preventive phytochemical from Brassica vegetables found in broccoli, but also in Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale is the active constituent that so far has been proven in several studies and clinical trials [1,2,3,4] to exert anticancer, cancer preventive and inhibiting properties in at least breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Now the results of the study indicate that Fagonia cretica aqueous extract contains potential anti-cancer agents acting either singly or in combination against breast cancer cell proliferation via DNA damage-induced FOXO3a and p53 expression .
Virgin's mantle (Fagonia cretica) is an herbaceous plant  that can be found mainly in in arid, desert regions of Pakistan, India, Africa and parts of Europe, as Alicante Province and the Balearic Islands in Spain, where it grows in rocky coastlines, especially on the Spanish islands of Cabrera, Formentera, Ibiza, and Majorca in the Mediterranean sea .
Fagonia cretica species extended also to Lower California and Chile due to the conditions of human civilization, commerce, etc. .