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Cucurbitacins: A Systematic Review of the Phytochemistry and Anticancer Activity
Cai Y1; Fang XF2; He CW1; Li P1; Xiao F1,3; Wang YT1; Chen MW1
Source PublicationAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine

Cucurbitacins are highly oxidized tetracyclic triterpenoids that are widely present in traditional Chinese medicines (Cucurbitaceae family), possess strong anticancer activity, and are divided into 12 classes from A to T with over 200 derivatives. The eight most active cucurbitacin components against cancer are cucurbitacin B, D, E, I, IIa, L glucoside, Q, and R. Their mechanisms of action include antiproliferation, inhibition of migration and invasion, proapoptosis, and cell cycle arrest promotion. Cucurbitacins are also found to be the inhibitors of JAK-STAT3, Wnt, PI3K/Akt, and MAPK signaling pathways, which play important roles in the apoptosis and survival of cancer cells. Recently, new studies have discovered synergistic anticancer effects by using cucurbitacins together with clinically approved chemotherapeutic drugs, such as docetaxel and methotrexate. This paper provides a summary of recent research progress on the anticancer property of cucurbitacins and the various intracellular signaling pathways involved in the regulation of cancer cell proliferation, death, invasion, and migration. Therefore, cucurbitacins are a class of promising anticancer drugs to be used alone or be intergraded in current chemotherapies and radiotherapies to treat many types of cancers.

KeywordCucurbitacins Phytochemistry Anticancer Mechanism
Indexed BySCIE
WOS Research AreaIntegrative & Complementary Medicine ; General & Internal Medicine
WOS SubjectIntegrative & Complementary Medicine ; Medicine, General & Internal
WOS IDWOS:000366350200003
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Cited Times [WOS]:50   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document TypeJournal article
CollectionInstitute of Chinese Medical Sciences
Affiliation1.State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macau 999078, P.R. China
2.Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
3.Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, P.R. China
First Author AffilicationInstitute of Chinese Medical Sciences
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Cai Y,Fang XF,He CW,et al. Cucurbitacins: A Systematic Review of the Phytochemistry and Anticancer Activity[J]. American Journal of Chinese Medicine,2015,43(7):1331-1350.
APA Cai Y,Fang XF,He CW,Li P,Xiao F,Wang YT,&Chen MW.(2015).Cucurbitacins: A Systematic Review of the Phytochemistry and Anticancer Activity.American Journal of Chinese Medicine,43(7),1331-1350.
MLA Cai Y,et al."Cucurbitacins: A Systematic Review of the Phytochemistry and Anticancer Activity".American Journal of Chinese Medicine 43.7(2015):1331-1350.
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