Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Betulinic Acid

  • Stephen Safe
  • Sabitha Papineni
  • Sudhakar Chintharlapalli
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_594-2


Betulinic acid is a naturally occurring triterpenoid acid and a potent anticancer drug.


Betulin is a pentacyclic triterpenol natural product that is found in tree bark, and this compound may constitute up to 30 % of the bark from birch trees. Betulinic acid (BA) is a minor bark constituent but is readily synthesized from betulin by oxidation to betulonic acid followed by reduction to betulinic acid (Fig. 1). Birch bark extracts containing betulin and BA have been used in traditional folk medicines; however, in recent years, BA alone or some of its derivatives have been developed as pharmacological agents for treating multiple diseases. For example, these compounds are antiviral agents that inhibit HIV-1 replication and exhibit antimalarial, antihelmintic, and antibacterial activity as well as anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Many of these responses induced by BA and its derivatives are structure dependent and involve changes in structure of one or...


Ursolic Acid Oleanolic Acid Betulinic Acid Glycyrrhetinic Acid Tolfenamic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Safe
    • 1
  • Sabitha Papineni
    • 1
  • Sudhakar Chintharlapalli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Physiology and PharmacologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA