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Integr Cancer Ther. 2017 Dec;16(4):572-584. doi: 10.1177/1534735416680744. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Preclinical Evaluation of Safety of Fucoidan Extracts From Undaria pinnatifida and Fucus vesiculosus for Use in Cancer Treatment.

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1 University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School at Houston, TX, USA.
2 UTHealth-Memorial Hermann Cancer Center-TMC, Houston, TX, USA.



To evaluate potential hepatic metabolism-mediated drug interactions with fucoidan from Undaria pinnatifida (UPF) or Fucus vesiculosus (FVF) and potential growth inhibition activity with either fucoidan alone or with chemotherapy. In vivo studies were done to confirm safety and investigate fucoidan-mediated immune modulation.


Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) 3A4, 2C8, 2C9, and 2D6 inhibition experiments were conducted in vitro followed by an ex vivo human hepatocytes model to evaluate the CYP450 induction potential of each fucoidan at highest theoretical concentrations. Four hepatic metabolism phase II pathways-glutathione S transferase (GST), quinone oxidoreductase (QOR), catechol-O-methyltransferases (COMT), and uridine di-phosphate (UDP)-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT)-were evaluated with validated immunoassays. Growth inhibition assays were performed with each fucoidan alone and in combination with chemotherapy agents in a panel of human cancer cell lines. In vivo studies evaluated safety and immune modualtion.


CYP450 inhibition was observed with FVF. The GST, QOR, and UGT pathways had no changes. UPF and FVF both interacted with COMT. No growth inhibitory activity in cancer cell lines was observed. UPF and FVF had synergistic activity with paclitaxel or tamoxifen and additive activity with topotecan. In vivo, FVF decreased HeLa human cervical tumor growth and both FVF and UPF decreased TOV-112D human ovarian tumor growth. Otherwise, no significant change in tumor growth was observed. FVF immune modulation of IgG and IL-6 was observed (p<0.03).


At higher doses, UPF and FVF may have limited potential for drug-supplement interactions, with either CYP450 or COMT hepatic metabolism pathways. Additional studies are warranted to evaluate to confirm findings of fucoidans in combination with chemotherapy.


Fucus vesiculosus; Undaria pinnatifida; cancer; chemotherapy; drug interactions; fucoidan

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