Potential Anticancer Properties and Mechanisms of Action of Withanolides.
Enzymes. 2015 ;37:73-94. Epub 2015 Jul 29. PMID: 26298456
Abbas K Samadi
Plant-based Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced in India for thousands of years for the treatment of a variety of disorders. They are rich sources of bioactive compounds potentially useful for prevention and treatment of cancer. Withania somnifera (commonly known as Ashwagandha in Ayurvedic medicine) is a widely used medicinal plant whose anticancer value was recognized after isolation of steroidal compounds withanolides from the leaves of this shrub. Withaferin A is the first member of withanolides to be isolated, and it is the most abundant withanolide present in W. somnifera. Its cancer-protective role has now been established using chemically induced and oncogene-driven rodent cancer models. The present review summarizes the key preclinical studies demonstrating anticancer effects of withaferin along with its molecular targets and mechanisms related to its anticancer effects. Anticancer potential of other withanolides is also discussed.