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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (4): 311-316.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.01.001

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

An overview on the chemistry, pharmacology and anticancer properties of tetrandrine and fangchinoline (alkaloids) from Stephania tetrandra roots

Eric Wei Chiang Chana, Siu Kuin Wongb, Hung Tuck Chanc   

  1. a. Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur 56000, Malaysia
    b. School of Foundation Studies, Xiamen University Malaysia, Selangor 43900, Malaysia
    c. Secretariat of the International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME), Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0129, Japan
  • Online:2021-08-15 Published:2021-08-30
  • Contact: Eric Wei Chiang Chan

Tetrandrine (TET) and fangchinoline (FAN) are dominant bisbenzylisoquinoline (BBIQ) alkaloids from the roots of Stephania tetrandra of the family Menispermaceae. BBIQ alkaloids comprise two benzylisoquinoline units linked by oxygen bridges. The molecular structures of TET and FAN are exactly the same, except that TET has a methoxy (?OCH3) group, while FAN has a hydroxyl (?OH) group at C7. In this overview, the current knowledge on the chemistry, pharmacology and anticancer properties of TET and FAN have been updated. The focus is on colon and breast cancer cells, because they are most susceptible to TET and FAN, respectively. Against colon cancer cells, TET inhibits cell proliferation and tumor growth by inducing apoptosis and G1 cell cycle arrest, and suppresses adhesion, migration and invasion of cells. Against breast cancer cells, FAN inhibits cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis, G1-phase cell cycle arrest and inhibits cell migration. The processes involve various molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways. Some insights on the ability of TET and FAN to reverse multi-drug resistance in cancer cells and suggestions for future research are provided. 

Key words: Tetrandrine, Fangchinoline, Alkaloids, Pharmacology, Anticancer, Multi-drug resistance

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