A medicinal against ovarian cancer, a “silent killer”

Aug. 2,2022
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Compared with the relatively prevalent breast cancer, the cervical cancer with available preventive HPV vaccine, and the endometrial cancer with slow progression which can be treated without surgery, ovarian cancer has attracted little attention despite the high life-threatening possibility. With non-specific symptoms at the early stages, it is often diagnosed late. The 5-year survival rate was up to 92% for patients diagnosed early and less than 30% for those diagnosed late. As early-stage ovarian cancer is usually symptomless and the malignant cells multiply quickly, 80% of patients are diagnosed at the advanced stage. Thus, it is also known as a “silent killer”.

When can we conquer it? How to defeat it? Researchers have been making strenuous efforts.

Spatholobi Caulis, the dried stem of Spatholobus suberectus Dun (Leguminosae), is bitter, sweet, and warm, with meridian tropism in liver and kidney. It has the functions of activating and tonifying blood, regulating menstruation to stop pain, and relaxing sinew and activating collaterals. It “removes static blood and promotes regeneration of blood”, thus renowned as “the panacea for blood aspect-related diseases”. In the clinical settings of traditional Chinese medicine, it is used for the treatment of common gynecological diseases such as menstrual irregularities and leukorrheal diseases. It is also applied in treatment of ovarian cancer owing to the effect of activating blood and removing static blood. The antitumor effect of its active components has also been verified.

In “Molecular mechanism of Spatholobi Caulis in treatment of ovarian cancer based on network pharmacology and experimental verification” (China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica), Zhu Shichun, Wu Chengyu, et al. at Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine discussed the main active components and the mechanism of Spatholobi Caulis against ovarian cancer by network pharmacology, molecular docking, and in vitro cell experiment. To be specific, they screened out 23 active ingredients of Spatholobi Caulis, which involved 75 ovarian cancer-related targets and 178 signaling pathways. The network analysis revealed that Spatholobi Caulis exerted the anti-ovarian cancer effect by acting on key targets such as GSK-3β, Bcl-2, and Bax. Molecular docking showed that GSK-3β had high binding affinity to the active component prunetin. The in vitro cell experiment confirmed that prunetin exerted therapeutic effect on ovarian cancer by blocking the GSK3β/Bcl-2/Bax signal transduction pathway. These findings laid a basis for studying the anti-ovarian cancer mechanism of this medicinal. The research outcomes are published in China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica (Vol. 47, No. 3, 2022).

This research was supported by the Youth Fund of National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Science and Technology Development Program of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Jiangsu Province. The original research paper is available in https://kns.cnki.net/kcms/detail/detail.aspx?dbcode=CJFD&dbname=CJFDLAST2022&filename=ZGZY202203026&uniplatform=NZKPT&v=zoPwKB8LthAJbrFPV4j2P7m5GMB8ibW7pndpvIoYb0Fosfub_SVRLgOCXUuG70fE

Corresponding Author: ZHU Shichun
Email: 846280606@qq.com
CNKI Press Officer: LI Jingjing YANG Na
Email: ljj6806@cnki.net yn6791@cnki.net

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