Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, Vol 15, No 4 (2015)

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Chinese herbal medicine-derived agents for cancer therapy: A focus on tumor angiogenesis

Ms. Xue Yang, Prof. XiongZhi Wu


With a long history of clinical use, Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is emerging as a noticeable choice for its multi-level, multi-target and coordinated intervention effects against tumor. Recently, many agents from CHM, such as sulfated polysaccharides/glycopeptides, flavonoids, artemisinin, arsenic trioxide, ginsenoside, and tanshinone, have shown powerful anti-angiogenic activities against tumor. The underlying pharmacological mechanisms of cancer angiogenesis inhibition by these agents are also gradually shown to us. Sulfated polysaccharides/glycopeptides and flavonoids may have synergistic effects with targeted anti-angiogenic drugs mainly targeting VEGF pathway by inhibiting bFGF and HIF-1α pathway, respectively. It is interesting that artemisinin and arsenic trioxide, two famous natural products worldwide, also have anti-tumor activity at least in part via angiogenesis inhibition. In addition, some natural products that are widely used for patients with cancer, such as ginseng and danshen, act as double-edged swords for tumor angiogenesis. Our review is aimed at providing an understanding of anti-angiogenic compounds from CHM and we propose that these breakthrough findings may have important implications for targeted-angiogenesis therapy and modernization of CHM.


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