Background: Alkyl ethers (D2 and D7) synthesized from diospyrin (D1), a naphthoquinonoid isolated from Diospyros montana Roxb., were evaluated for cytotoxicity and capacity to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) in tumour cells. Methods: The tumour inhibitory activity of the quinonoids was assessed in vivo against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC), while cytotoxicity was determined in vitro on EAC and MCF-7 cancer cells by MTT assay. ROS generated by quinonoids in MCF-7 cells was measured fluorimetrically. Results: The tumour inhibitory activity, cytotoxicity and ROS generation capacity of quinonoids were found to be D7 > D2 > D1. Conclusion: Alkyl ethers of D1 were more cytotoxic against tumour cells in vitro as well as in vivo.

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