A mixture of 6-O-acyl-beta -D-glucosyl-beta -sitosterols, the acyl moeity b
eing primarily palmitoyl and linoleyl with minor amounts of stearyl and ole
yl, has been isolated as a potent cytotoxic agent from fig (Ficus carica) l
atex and soybeans. Identity was established by spectroscopic methods (NMR,
MS) and confirmed by chemical synthesis. Both the natural and the synthetic
compounds showed in vitro inhibitory effects on proliferation of various c
ancer cell lines.