Sites of Accumulation of the Antitumor Alkaloid Camptothecin inCamptotheca acuminata Academic Article uri icon


  • Camptothecin is an anticancer and anti-viral alkaloid produced by the Chinese tree Camptotheca acuminata (Nyssaceae). Despite previous reports of low levels of anticancer activity in leaves of Camptotheca acuminata, we have discovered that camptothecin accumulates to approximately 0.4% of the dry weight of young leaves. This level is 1.5-fold higher than that of the seeds and 2.5-fold higher than that of the bark, the two currently used sources of the drug. As the leaves mature, the concentration and absolute amount of camptothecin decreases rapidly. The high levels of camptothecin in young leaves could provide an easily harvested, non-destructive source of this important drug.

author list (cited authors)

  • L√≥pez-Meyer, M., Nessler, C. L., & McKnight, T. D.

citation count

  • 78

publication date

  • December 1994