A fraction separated from crude crocetin by preparative HPLC, and identified using LC/MS and NMR as crocetinic acid, markedly regressed the proliferation and increased apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Purified crocetinic acid showed more potency than 15 commercial or crude crocetin using proliferation and apoptosis as markers. Purified crocetinic acid also showed significant anti-tumorigenic activity against pancreatic cancer cells in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Given crocetinic acid’s low toxicity, crocetinic acid could be used as a chemotherapeutic or chemopreventative agent for pancreatic cancer.
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