, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 560-565
Date: 21 May 2011

Parthenolide, a Sesquiterpene Lactone, Expresses Multiple Anti-cancer and Anti-inflammatory Activities

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Abstract

Parthenolide, a naturally occurring sesquiterpene lactone derived from feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), exhibits exceptional anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a prominent candidate for further studies and drug development. In this review, we briefly investigate molecular events and cell-specific activities of this chemical in relation to cytochrome c, nuclear factor kappa-light-chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), signal transduction and activation of transcription (STAT), reactive oxygen species (ROS), TCP, HDACs, microtubules, and inflammasomes. This paper reports that parthenolide shows strong NF-κB- and STAT-inhibition-mediated transcriptional suppression of pro-apoptotic genes. This compound acts both at the transcriptional level and by direct inhibition of associated kinases (IKK-β). Similarly, this review discusses parthenolide-induced ROS-mediated apoptosis of tumor cells via the intrinsic apoptotic signaling pathway. The unique ability of this compound to not harm normal cells but at the same time induce sensitization to extrinsic as well as intrinsic apoptosis signaling in cancer cells provides an important, novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of cancer and inflammation-related disorders.