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Adv Pharm Bull. 2014 Oct;4(Suppl 1):421-7. doi: 10.5681/apb.2014.062. Epub 2014 Aug 25.

Herbal medicine as inducers of apoptosis in cancer treatment.

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Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.


Cancer is uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Nowadays, cancer is considered as a human tragedy and one of the most prevalent diseases in the wide, and its mortality resulting from cancer is being increased. It seems necessary to identify new strategies to prevent and treat such a deadly disease. Control survival and death of cancerous cell are important strategies in the management and therapy of cancer. Anticancer agents should kill the cancerous cell with the minimal side effect on normal cells that is possible through the induction of apoptosis. Apoptosis is known as programmed cell death in both normal and damaged tissues. This process includes some morphologically changes in cells such as rapid condensation and budding of the cell, formation of membrane-enclosed apoptotic bodies with well-preserved organelles. Induction of apoptosis is one of the most important markers of cytotoxic antitumor agents. Some natural compounds including plants induce apoptotic pathways that are blocked in cancer cells through various mechanisms in cancer cells. Multiple surveys reported that people with cancer commonly use herbs or herbal products. Vinca Alkaloids, Texans, podo phyllotoxin, Camptothecins have been clinically used as Plant derived anticancer agents. The present review summarizes the literature published so far regarding herbal medicine used as inducers of apoptosis in cancer.


Anti-cancer compound; Apoptosis; Cancer; Herbal medicine; Herb–drug interactions; Safety

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