Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumor with high incidence in women. Due to the invisibility of symptoms, ovarian cancer is difficult to be detected at an early stage and its 5-year survival rate is so low, accounting for only one-third of all diagnosed patients. The main treatments are tumor cytoreductive surgery and chemotherapy, both of which have their limitations in therapeutic effects, so scientists are always working on finding alternatives to treat ovarian cancer.
In the 1960s, Scientists were attracted by ginsenosides, active compounds in ginseng. Rare ginsenosides, metabolized and transformed from ginsenosides, were found good anticancer activities and could be a promising anticancer agent. Absorbed in intensive research in ginsenosides for half a century, scientists now have identified more than 60 kinds of rare ginsenosides and some of them have been successfully applied to fight cancer.
Ginsenoside Rh3 is a rare saponin that has been isolated and extracted in recent years. Canadian scientists found that the anti-cancer activity of ginsenoside Rh3 is stronger than that of ginsenoside Rh2 and ginsenoside Rg3. More scientists are getting interested in the function of ginsenoside Rh3 in inhibiting cancer cells.
Recently, Chinese scientists studied the anticancer effects of ginsenoside Rh3 on ovarian cancer cells, finding that ginsenoside Rh3 can significantly inhibit the growth and proliferation of ovarian cancer cells and induce apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. The study was led by Researchers from Qingpu Branch of Zhongshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
The researchers made controlled experiments to identify the effects of ginsenoside Rh3 on ovarian cancer cells. They found that the experimental group treated with ginsenoside Rh3 was seen less ovarian cancer cells than the control group in 8-48 hours, indicating that ginsenoside Rh3 can inhibit the growth of ovarian cancer cells.
Furthermore, in situ end-labeling, as a means of the specific identification of apoptotic cells, was employed to confirm the role of ginsenoside Rh3 in inducing apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. When the cells are apoptotic, a large number of DNA breaks are generated and the 3′-OH ends of these DNA breaks will be labeled. In the experiments, multiple 3′-OH ends of DNA breaks were labeled down in the experimental group treated with ginsenoside Rh3, meaning that ginsenoside Rh3 induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells.
Some previous studies have shown that ginsenoside Rh3 can inhibit the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells. This study found that ginsenoside Rh3 can induce apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells.
Rare ginsenosides are increasingly found comprehensive anti-cancer effects. The research results on the anticancer effects of ginsenoside Rh3 provide a theoretical foundation for the application of ginsenoside Rh3 that can be used as a potential anticancer drug. At present, Canadian scientists have developed some rare ginsenoside supplements, including ginsenoside Rh3, which are helping plenty of patients.