As shown in the following figure, cancer cells proliferate through cell division. Cell division occurs in a cycle with 4 major stages from G1 phase to S then G2 and finally reaching the mitosis M phase.
Numerous studies have shown that low-dose (1~10ug/ml) dammarane sapogenins and derivative compounds can arrest the cell cycle at the G1 phase at low concentrations. Therefore, cell proliferation was stopped.
In addition, at low concentrations, dammarane sapogenins can induce malignant cell differentiation to the benign form. When cancer is treated with low concentrations of dammarane sapogenins or its derivatives, malignant cells which are densely populated and bear round or polygonal shapes (figure a) are transformed into spindle shaped cells in a loose array (figure b), typical of the benign morphology. Since cancer develops from a single abnormal cell, long term, low dose use of dammarane sapogenins may halt any potential cancerous cell transformation, as well, stimulate differentiation of cancer cells, therefore prevent cancer development.