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Current Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1389-4501
ISSN (Online): 1873-5592

Molecular Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics of Artemisinin and its Derivatives in Cancer Cells

Author(s): Thomas Efferth

Volume 7 , Issue 4 , 2006

Page: [407 - 421] Pages: 15

DOI: 10.2174/138945006776359412

Price: $65


Secondary metabolites from plants can serve as defense against herbivores, microbes, viruses or competing plants. Many compounds from medicinal plants have pharmacological activities and thus may be a source for novel antitumor agents. We have analyzed natural products from traditional Chinese medicine during the past decade and focused our interest on the compound artemisinin from Artemisia annua L. (qinghao, sweet wormwood) and its derivatives. In addition to their anti-malarial properties, artemisinins are cytotoxic for cancer cells. The present review focuses on the mechanisms of action of artemisinins in cancer cells relating to: 1. anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effects, 2. induction of apoptosis, 3. oxidative stress, 4. oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, and 5. multidrug resistance. Data on putative target molecules of artemisinins are presented and discussed, e.g. the translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP). Emphasis is given to pharmacogenomic approaches to analyze the pleiotropic nature of mechanisms of artemisinins in cancer cells.

Keywords: Angiogenesis, Apoptosis, Multidrug resistance, Oncogenes, Oxidative stress, Pharmacogenomics, Sesquiterpene lactones, Traditional Chinese medicine, Tumor suppressor genes

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