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Quassinoids: From traditional drugs to new cancer therapeutics


Fiaschetti, G; Grotzer, M A; Shalaby, T; Castelletti, D; Arcaro, A (2011). Quassinoids: From traditional drugs to new cancer therapeutics. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 18(3):316-328.

Abstract

Quassinoids are a group of compounds extracted from plants of the Simaroubaceae family, which have been used for many years in folk medicine. These molecules gained notoriety after the initial discovery of the anti-leukemic activity of one member, bruceantin, in 1975. Currently over 150 quassinoids have been isolated and classified based on their chemical structures and biological properties investigated in vitro and in vivo. Many molecules display a wide range of inhibitory effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-malarial and anti-proliferative effects on various tumor cell types. Although often the exact mechanism of action of the single agents remains unclear, some agents have been shown to affect protein synthesis in general, or specifically HIF-1α and MYC, membrane polarization and the apoptotic machinery. Considering that future research into chemical modifications is likely to generate more active and less toxic derivatives of natural quassinoids, this family represents a powerful source of promising small molecules targeting key prosurvival signaling pathways relevant for diverse pathologies. Here, we review available knowledge of functionality and possible applications of quassinoids and quassinoid derivatives, spanning traditional use to the potential impact on modern medicine as cancer therapeutics.

Abstract

Quassinoids are a group of compounds extracted from plants of the Simaroubaceae family, which have been used for many years in folk medicine. These molecules gained notoriety after the initial discovery of the anti-leukemic activity of one member, bruceantin, in 1975. Currently over 150 quassinoids have been isolated and classified based on their chemical structures and biological properties investigated in vitro and in vivo. Many molecules display a wide range of inhibitory effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-malarial and anti-proliferative effects on various tumor cell types. Although often the exact mechanism of action of the single agents remains unclear, some agents have been shown to affect protein synthesis in general, or specifically HIF-1α and MYC, membrane polarization and the apoptotic machinery. Considering that future research into chemical modifications is likely to generate more active and less toxic derivatives of natural quassinoids, this family represents a powerful source of promising small molecules targeting key prosurvival signaling pathways relevant for diverse pathologies. Here, we review available knowledge of functionality and possible applications of quassinoids and quassinoid derivatives, spanning traditional use to the potential impact on modern medicine as cancer therapeutics.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:24 Feb 2012 09:22
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 12:53
Publisher:Bentham Science
ISSN:0929-8673
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2174/092986711794839205
PubMed ID:21143123

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