We have systematically examined the cytotoxic activities of the steroidal s
aponins mainly isolated from the Liliaceae plants against HL-60 human promy
elocytic leukemia cells and found several structure-activity relationships.
Some steroidal saponins evaluated in the assay system showed considerable
cytotoxic activities, which were almost as potent as that of etoposide used
as a positive control. The activities were found to be sensitive to the mo
nosaccharides constituting the sugar moieties and their sequences, as well
as to the structures of the aglycons.