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October 2022

Med Hypotheses. 1983 Jul; 11(3): 329-41.

The possible role of tropical medicinal preparations in human carcinoma in Africa.

Adekunle AA, Adekunle LV.

It is suggested that apart from aflatoxins, plant medicinal preparations containing active compounds imperatorin, dictamine, marmesin and heraclenin may be responsible for some human cancers in Nigeria and perhaps other parts of Africa. Therefore, in this paper, a hypothesis is put forward that these compounds or their reactive (metabolized) types may form epoxides from the 2,3-furan double bonds which may bind tissue macromolecules, DNA, RNA and protein leading to one of the vital steps of environmental carcinogenesis in mammals. This hypothesis has far reaching implications for, besides the examples given, unanalysed plant preparations are widely used in various parts of Africa within traditional methods of healing. Our observation is based on information we now have about AFB1 and is not intended to confirm the roles of double bonds in a vinyl ether system of the active compounds.


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