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Saudi J Biol Sci. 2018 Jul;25(5):917-922. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2018.01.012. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Functional mechanism of Ginsenosides on tumor growth and metastasis.

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Department of Pharmacy, Changchun University of Chinese Medicine, Changchun, Jilin, PR China.
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD, USA.


Ginsengs, has long been used as one medicinal herb in China for more than two thousand years. Many studies have shown that ginsengs have preventive and therapeutic roles for cancer, and play a good complementary role in cancer treatment. Ginsenosides, as most important constituents of ginseng, have been extensively investigated and emphasized in cancer chemoprevention and therapeutics. However, the functional mechanism of Ginsenosides on cancer is not well known. This review will focus on introducing the functional mechanisms of ginsenosides and their metabolites, which regulate signaling pathways related with tumor growth and metastasis. Ginsenosides inhibit tumor growth via upregulating tumor apoptosis, inducing tumor cell differentiation and targeting cancer stem cells. In addition, Ginsenosides regulate tumor microenvironment via suppressing tumor angiogenesis-related proteins and pathways. Structural modification of ginsenosides and their administration alone or combinations with other Chinese medicines or chemical medicines have recently been developed to be a new therapeutic strategy for cancer.


Functional mechanism; Ginsenosides; Tumor growth; Tumor metastasis

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