Natural health products that inhibit angiogenesis: a potential source for investigational new agents to treat cancer-Part 1.
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An integrative approach for managing a patient with cancer should target the multiple biochemical and physiologic pathways that support tumour development and minimize normal-tissue toxicity. Angiogenesis is a key process in the promotion of cancer. Many natural health products that inhibit angiogenesis also manifest other anticancer activities. The present article focuses on products that have a high degree of anti-angiogenic activity, but it also describes some of the many other actions of these agents that can inhibit tumour progression and reduce the risk of metastasis. Natural health products target molecular pathways other than angiogenesis, including epidermal growth factor receptor, the HER2/neu gene, the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme, the nuclear factor kappa-B transcription factor, the protein kinases, the Bcl-2 protein, and coagulation pathways. The herbs that are traditionally used for anticancer treatment and that are anti-angiogenic through multiple interdependent processes (including effects on gene expression, signal processing, and enzyme activities) include Artemisia annua (Chinese wormwood), Viscum album (European mistletoe), Curcuma longa (curcumin), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap), resveratrol and proanthocyanidin (grape seed extract), Magnolia officinalis (Chinese magnolia tree), Camellia sinensis (green tea), Ginkgo biloba, quercetin, Poria cocos, Zingiber officinalis (ginger), Panax ginseng, Rabdosia rubescens hora (Rabdosia), and Chinese destagnation herbs. Quality assurance of appropriate extracts is essential prior to embarking upon clinical trials. More data are required on dose-response, appropriate combinations, and potential toxicities. Given the multiple effects of these agents, their future use for cancer therapy probably lies in synergistic combinations. During active cancer therapy, they should generally be evaluated in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. In this role, they act as modifiers of biologic response or as adaptogens, potentially enhancing the efficacy of the conventional therapies.
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