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Expert Rev Mol Med. 2009 Oct 30;11:e32. doi: 10.1017/S1462399409001239.

Anticancer activities of artemisinin and its bioactive derivatives.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and The Cancer Research Laboratory, The University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720-3200, USA.


Artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone derived from the sweet wormwood plant Artemisia annua, and its bioactive derivatives exhibit potent anticancer effects in a variety of human cancer cell model systems. The pleiotropic response in cancer cells includes growth inhibition by cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis, disruption of cell migration, and modulation of nuclear receptor responsiveness. These effects of artemisinin and its derivatives result from perturbations of many cellular signalling pathways. This review provides a comprehensive discussion of these cellular responses, and considers the ramifications for the potential development of artemisinin-based compounds in anticancer therapeutic and preventative strategies.

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