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Saudi J Biol Sci. 2018 Jul;25(5):991-995. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2018.05.016. Epub 2018 May 14.

Anti-tumor and anti-metastatic roles of cordycepin, one bioactive compound of Cordyceps militaris.

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Department of Pharmacy, Changchun University of Chinese Medicine, Changchun, Jilin, China.
Department of Histology and Embryology, Taishan Medical College, Taian, Shangdong, China.
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD, USA.


Public interest in complementary and alternative medicine has been increased worldwide, due to its wide applications in cancer prevention and treatment. Cordycepin is one of the most common and crucial types of complementary and alternative medicine. Cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine), a derivative of adenosine, was first isolated from medicine drug Cordyceps militaris. Cordycepin has been widely used as one compound for antitumor, which has been found to exert antiangiogenic, anti-metastatic, and antiproliferative effects, as well as inducing apoptosis. However, the mechanism of its anti-tumor activity is not well known. This review will clarify anti-tumor mechanisms of Cordycepin, which regulate signaling pathways related with tumor growth and metastasis. Cordycepin inhibit tumor growth via upregulating tumor apoptosis, inducing cell cycle arrest and targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs). Cordycepin regulates tumor microenvironment via suppressing tumor metastasis-related pathways. Thus, Cordycepins may be one of important supplement or substitute medicine drug for cancer treatment.


Anti-metastasis; Anti-tumor; Cordycepin

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