Withaferin, an active component obtained from the root extracts of Withania somnifera (Ashwaganda), showed antitumor and radiosensitising effects in animals. A similar approach in human cancer patients could probably increase the therapeutic outcome. Antioxidants are good markers of free radical induced tissue damage or in other words, radiosensitisation of tumor cells. Therefore an assay of erythrocyte antioxidant levels namely GSH, GSH-PX,SOD and G6PD were performed in cancers of uterine cervix, before, in the midst of, and post radiation and compared with the erythrocyte levels of the same in normal controls. Although a high level of GSH was observed in the baseline samples, this level was consistent after treatment. A significant decrease in GSHPX values following radiation was observed. SOD and G6PD levels remained non significant. Therefore establishing the role of withaferin as a radiosensitiser seems to be ambiguous.
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D. M. Vasudevan, Reshma, K., Rao, A. V., and Dinesh, M., “Effect of withaferin, a radiosensitizer, on the erythrocyte antioxidants in carcinoma of uterine cervix”, Biomedical Research, vol. 18, pp. 175-178, 2007.