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Sandalwood Oil for the Chemoprevention of Skin Cancer: Mechanistic Insights, Anti-inflammatory, and In Vivo Anticancer Potential

Abstract

There is an increasing incidence of skin cancer across the world. The World Health Organization reports that the global incidence of melanoma will continue to rise with increasing depletion of the ozone layer and consequent UV irradiation. The natural product sandalwood oil from genus Santalum (Family Santalaceae) and its constituent alpha-santalol have been reported to exert chemopreventive effects against skin cancers as well as prostate, head and neck, and breast cancers. The anticancer effects are mediated via modulation of MAPK, AP-1, beta-catenin and PI3K/Akt pathways, upregulation of p21, and activation of caspases/PARP. Furthermore, sandalwood oil exerts anti-inflammatory activities via prostaglandin E2, IL-1beta, inhibition of NF-kappaB, and 5-lipoxygenase. Other therapeutic activities in eczema, psoriasis, radiation dermatitis, antifungal, etc. have also been reported. Sandalwood oil has acceptable safety and is well-tolerated. Taken together, given the chemopreventive potential of sandalwood oil, future clinical trials are warranted to investigate its use as an adjunct to chemotherapy or immunotherapy for skin cancers.

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Abbreviations

A431 cells:

Human epidermoid carcinoma cell line

AP-1:

Activator protein 1

BCC:

Basal cell carcinoma

COX-2:

Cyclooxygenase-2

DHA:

Docosahexenoic acid

DMBA:

7,12-Dimethylbenz(a) anthracene

GPCR:

G protein-coupled receptor

GST:

Glutathione-S-transferase

HaCaT:

Cultured human keratinocyte cells

HUVEC:

Human umbilical vein endothelial cells

IL:

Interleukin

J82:

Human bladder carcinoma cell line

LC3:

Microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3

LD50 :

Lethal dose (in 50% of population)

LNCaP:

Lymph node carcinoma of the prostate (prostate cancer cells)

LPS:

Lipopolysaccharide

MAPK:

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

MCF-7:

Michigan Cancer Foundation-7 (breast cancer cells)

MCF-10A:

Normal mammary epithelial cells

MDA-MB 231 cells:

Triple-negative breast cancer cell line

MDCK:

Madin-Darby canine kidney cells

ODC:

Ornithine decarboxylase

p53:

Tumor suppressor protein

PC-3:

Prostate cancer cell line

PI3K:

Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase

PUFA:

Polyunsaturated fatty acid

SCC:

Squamous cell carcinoma

TPA:

12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate

UV:

Ultraviolet

UROtsa:

Human urothelial cell line

VAS:

Visual analog scale

VEGF:

Vascular endothelial growth factor

VEGFR2:

Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Viral Bakhai of ViralAnimationz (https://viralanimationz.wixsite.com/website) for his assistance in drawing the electronic version of Fig. 3.

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Jain, R., Nair, S. Sandalwood Oil for the Chemoprevention of Skin Cancer: Mechanistic Insights, Anti-inflammatory, and In Vivo Anticancer Potential. Curr Pharmacol Rep 5, 345–358 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40495-019-00195-4

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Keywords

  • Natural product
  • Sandalwood oil
  • α-Santalol
  • Skin cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Chemoprevention