New therapeutic aspects of flavones: The anticancer properties of Scutellariae and its main active constituents Wogonin, Baicalein and Baicalin

Friday, 05/10/2012  |   Herb or Compound  |  no comments

Cancer Treatment Reviews. Volume 35, Issue 1, February 2009, Pages 57-68 doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2008.09.005

Traditional Chinese medicines have been recently recognised as a new source of anticancer drugs and new chemotherapy adjuvant to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and to ameliorate the side effects of cancer chemotherapies however their healing mechanisms are still largely unknown. Scutellaria baicalensis is one of the most popular and multi-purpose herb used in China traditionally for treatment of inflammation, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and bacterial and viral infections. Accumulating evidence demonstrate that Scutellariae also possesses potent anticancer activities. The bioactive components of Scutellariae have been confirmed to be flavones. The major constituents of Scutellariae baicalensis are Wogonin, Baicalein and Baicalin. These phytochemicals are not only cytostatic but also cytotoxic to various human tumour cell lines in vitro and inhibit tumour growth in vivo. Most importantly, they show almost no or minor toxicity to normal epithelial and normal peripheral blood and myeloid cells. The antitumor functions of these flavones are largely due to their abilities to scavenge oxidative radicals, to attenuate NF-?B activity, to inhibit several genes important for regulation of the cell cycle, to suppress COX-2 gene expression and to prevent viral infections. The tumour-selectivity of Wogonin has recently been demonstrated to be due to its ability to differentially modulate the oxidation–reduction status of malignant vs. normal lymphocytic cells and to preferentially induce phospholipase C?1, a key enzyme involved in Ca2+ signalling, through H2O2 signalling in malignant lymphocytes. This review is aimed to summarise the research results obtained since the last 20 years and to highlight the recently discovered molecular mechanisms.

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