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Med Res Rev. 2005 Jul;25(4):383-97.

Evolving anticancer drug valproic acid: insights into the mechanism and clinical studies.

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Zentrum der Chirurgie, Klinik für Urologie und Kinderurologie, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


The short chain fatty acid valproic acid (VPA) and VPA-analogs modulate the biology of diverse tumor cell entities by inducing differentiation, inhibiting proliferation, increasing apoptosis, and immunogenicity and by decreasing metastatic and angiogenetic potential. This review updates an earlier one in 2002, reflecting the interest in VPA as a potent anticancer drug. A number of in vitro studies show that the types of known tumor cells susceptible to VPA is steadily increasing. Of special note is the strong antineoplastic activity of VPA in chemoresistant cancer cells. A novel and promising approach is combining VPA with other drugs to achieve a broad therapeutic index. Clinical studies are underway and the preliminary results indicate that VPA alone or in combination offers a promising avenue of treatment, both in solid and hematopoetic malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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