Natural compounds from herbs that can potentially execute as autophagy inducers for cancer therapy

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Accumulated evidence indicates that autophagy is a response of cancer cells to various anti-cancer therapies. Autophagy is designated as programmed cell death type II, and is characterized by the formation of autophagic vacuoles in the cytoplasm. Numerous herbs, including Chinese herbs, have been applied to cancer treatments as complementary and alternative medicines, supplements, or nutraceuticals to dampen the side or adverse effects of chemotherapy drugs. Moreover, the tumor suppressive actions of herbs and natural products induced autophagy that may lead to cell senescence, increase apoptosis-independent cell death or complement apoptotic processes. Hereby, the underlying mechanisms of natural autophagy inducers are cautiously reviewed in this article. Additionally, three natural compounds—curcumin, 16-hydroxycleroda-3,13-dien-15,16-olide, and prodigiosin—are presented as candidates for autophagy inducers that can trigger cell death in a supplement or alternative medicine for cancer therapy. Despite recent advancements in therapeutic drugs or agents of natural products in several cancers, it warrants further investigation in preclinical and clinical studies.




Lin, S. R., Fu, Y. S., Tsai, M. J., Cheng, H., & Weng, C. F. (2017, July 1). Natural compounds from herbs that can potentially execute as autophagy inducers for cancer therapy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. MDPI AG.

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