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The Application of Embelin for Cancer Prevention and Therapy

College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 24 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Korea
Department for Management of Science and Technology Development, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
Faculty of Pharmacy, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117600, Singapore
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Running Title: Potential Antineoplastic Effects of Embelin.
Molecules 2018, 23(3), 621;
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecule Catalysts with Therapeutic Potential)
PDF [931 KB, uploaded 9 March 2018]


Embelin is a naturally-occurring benzoquinone compound that has been shown to possess many biological properties relevant to human cancer prevention and treatment, and increasing evidence indicates that embelin may modulate various characteristic hallmarks of tumor cells. This review summarizes the information related to the various oncogenic pathways that mediate embelin-induced cell death in multiple cancer cells. The mechanisms of the action of embelin are numerous, and most of them induce apoptotic cell death that may be intrinsic or extrinsic, and modulate the NF-κB, p53, PI3K/AKT, and STAT3 signaling pathways. Embelin also induces autophagy in cancer cells; however, these autophagic cell-death mechanisms of embelin have been less reported than the apoptotic ones. Recently, several autophagy-inducing agents have been used in the treatment of different human cancers, although they require further exploration before being transferred from the bench to the clinic. Therefore, embelin could be used as a potential agent for cancer therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: Embelin; apoptosis; autophagy; cancer; cell signaling Embelin; apoptosis; autophagy; cancer; cell signaling

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Ko, J.-H.; Lee, S.-G.; Yang, W.M.; Um, J.-Y.; Sethi, G.; Mishra, S.; Shanmugam, M.K.; Ahn, K.S. The Application of Embelin for Cancer Prevention and Therapy. Molecules 2018, 23, 621.

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