New study indicates remedial effects of Red Sea soft coral

Red Sea soft corals, more commonly known as ai???toadstool coralsai???, contain metabolites that may prevent human colorectal cancer cells from multiplying, according to a recent study conducted by researcher Seif-Eldin N. Ayyad from the Department of Natural Products and Alternative Medicine of Saudi Arabiaai??i??s King Abdulaziz University, and his team of scientists.

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-induced death in USA. The study focuses on the cytotoxic effect of metabolites, obtained from marine samples of the Saudi territorial Red Sea soft coral belonging to the genus Sarcophyton, on the ability of cancer cells to divide and spread.


Sarcophyton glaucum

Cancer cell lines obtained from the National Cancer Institute of Cairo, Egypt, were treated with seven types of extracted metabolites, whose structures of the metabolites were determined based on spectroscopic measurements (NMR, UV, IR and MS) in order to study the chemical and biological profile of the Sarcophyton glaucum soft coral.

Cembranoid derivative y 2S*, 11S*, 12R*-isosarcophytoxide, which was discovered for the first time in the soft coral by the team, along with six other known metabolites 7R 8S dihydroxydeepoxy-ent-sarcophine, sarcophytolol, sarcotrocheliol acetate, ent-sarcophine, guaiacophine and gorgosten-5(E)-3I?-ol were observed to affect the proliferative ability of colorectal cancer cells.


The antiproliferative effects of the isolated compounds were analyzed using sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay and compared to the standard anticancer drug Doxorubicin, according to Ayyad and colleagues. The compounds ai???were evaluated to assess their antiproliferative effect towards four different cancer cell lines HCT116 (human colorectal cancer), CACO-2 (human colon cancer) and HT29 (human colon cancer) and HepG-2 (human hepatic carcinoma),ai??? the study noted.

The tested compounds showed significant activities to HepG-2 and to HCT116. ai???Among the seven isolated compounds, sarcotrocheliol acetate and ent-sarcophine were seen to exhibit significant cytotoxic effects on the colorectal cancer cells that were tested,ai??? the research authors reported.

Both sarcotrochelion acetate and ent-sarcophine were seen to decrease cell population specifically during the S-phase of its division and also induce compensatory increase in the cell fractions that were not dividing.


Seif-Eldin N Ayyad

This study has demonstrated that while all seven metabolites exhibited cytotoxic effect on the colorectal cancer cell lines, both sarcotrochelion acetate and ent-sarcophineai??i??s antiproliferative effect can be attributed to their ability to induce cell-cycle arrest, thus preventing the cancer cells from multiplying and spreading in the human body.

ai???It is worthwhile to study the mechanism of action of such potent cytotoxic agents,ai??? concluded the authors.

This article appears in open access peer-reviewed journal Advances in Modern Oncology Research and is available online at