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β-Elemene is a sesquiterpene compound extracted from the herb Curcuma Rhizoma and is used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat several types of cancer, with no reported severe adverse effects. Recent studies, using in vitro and in vivo studies combined with molecular methods, have shown that β-elemene can inhibit cell proliferation, arrest the cell cycle, and induce cell apoptosis. Recent studies have identified the molecular targets of β-elemene that may have a role in cancer therapy. This review aims to discuss the anticancer potential of β-elemene through its actions on several molecular targets including kinase enzymes, transcription factors, growth factors and their receptors, and proteins. β-Elemene also regulates the expression of several key molecules that are involved in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), E-cadherin, N-cadherin, and vimentin. Also, β-elemene has been shown to have regulatory effects on the immune response and increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemoradiotherapy and has shown effects on multidrug resistance (MDR) in malignancy. Recent studies have shown that β-elemene can induce autophagy, which prevents cancer cells from undergoing apoptosis. Therefore, the molecular mechanisms for the treatment effects on cancer of the herbal extract, β-elemene, which has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, are now being studied and identified.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie
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A system of traditional medicine which is based on the beliefs and practices of the Chinese culture.
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