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Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2003 Aug;17(4):405-17.

Ginkgo biloba extracts and cancer: a research area in its infancy.

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Institute for BioScience, 153 West Main Street, Westboro, MA, USA.


Recent studies conducted with various molecular, cellular and whole animal models have revealed that leaf extracts of Ginkgo biloba may have anticancer (chemopreventive) properties that are related to their antioxidant, anti-angiogenic and gene-regulatory actions. The antioxidant and associated anti-lipoperoxidative effects of Ginkgo extracts appear to involve both their flavonoid and terpenoid constituents. The anti-angiogenic activity of the extracts may involve their antioxidant activity and their ability to inhibit both inducible and endothelial forms of nitric oxide synthase. With regard to gene expression, a Ginkgo extract and one of its terpenoid constituents, ginkgolide B, inhibited the proliferation of a highly aggressive human breast cancer cell line and xenografts of this cell line in nude mice. cDNA microarray analyses have shown that exposure of human breast cancer cells to a Ginkgo extract altered the expression of genes that are involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, cell differentiation or apoptosis, and that exposure of human bladder cancer cells to a Ginkgo extract produced an adaptive transcriptional response that augments antioxidant status and inhibits DNA damage. In humans, Ginkgo extracts inhibit the formation of radiation-induced (chromosome-damaging) clastogenic factors and ultraviolet light-induced oxidative stress - effects that may also be associated with anticancer activity. Flavonoid and terpenoid constituents of Ginkgo extracts may act in a complementary manner to inhibit several carcinogenesis-related processes, and therefore the total extracts may be required for producing optimal effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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