Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, Vol 15, No 1 (2015)

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Combined cancer therapy- all roads lead to AMPK

Dr. Jian Zhang

Abstract


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key energy sensor that regulates cellular energy homeostasis. AMPK activation is associated with decreased phosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and S6 kinase and causes a general reduction in mRNA translation and protein synthesis. Therefore, AMPK is a novel target for anti-cancer therapy. Metformin and aspirin are two traditional drugs that are widely used as anti-diabetes and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), respectively. Much evidence has confirmed that these two drugs demonstrated encouraging anti-cancer properties. Most importantly, both inhibited tumor proliferation and were mainly dependent on the AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway. In addition, several other drugs, such as resveratrol, berberine, lovastatin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and capsaicin, have provided a similar capacity for tumor inhibition, and the anti-cancer effect of most of them were mainly through AMPK activation. In the current review, we summarize the literature on combination therapy based on these non-classical drugs and their potential mechanisms for activating AMPK. Combinations of these drugs will provide a novel cancer therapeutic regimen.

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