Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the most widely consumed dietary supplements worldwide. Its anticancer potential has been demonstrated in various studies. However, ginger roots obtained from different geographical locations showed extensive variability in their activities, mainly due to differences in the levels of bioactive compounds. Here we evaluated the effect of these differences on the anticancer activity of ginger by performing efficacy-based fingerprinting. We characterized the fingerprint profiles of 22 ginger samples using liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy, followed by a principal component analysis (PCA) and pearson correlation analysis. We also evaluated the anti-proliferative effects (IC50) of these samples on triple-negative breast cancer cells using the MTT assays. The supervised PCA identified a subset of analytes whose abundance strongly associated with the IC50 values of the ginger extracts, providing a link between ginger extract composition and in vitro anticancer efficacy. This study demonstrated that variation in the ginger fingerprint profiles resulting from differences in their chemical composition could have a significant impact on efficacy and bioactivity of ginger extracts. Also, this first-of-a-kind efficacy-based fingerprinting approach proposed here can identify potent anticancer candidates from the ginger fingerprint without the need for isolating individual components from the extracts.
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