Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of breast cancer, accounting for 12-24% of all breast cancers.
Characterized by a lack of estrogen receptor (ER)-, progesterone receptor (PR)-, and HER2-, Triple-negative breast cancer is difficult to treat and has a poor long-term prognosis. This is partly because predominant hormone therapies that target one of the three biomarkers doesn’t work well against triple-negative breast cancer.
Combination therapy has been a hot spot for the treatment for triple-negative breast cancer. Scientists are always on the lookout for a potent agent to help fight this tough tumor.
New research, which appears in the Journal of Pharmacological Research, finds that ginsenoside 20(S)-protopanaxadiol inhibits triple-negative breast cancer metastasis in mice.
The study was led by Bo Peng, a professor of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing, China.
Ginsenoside aPPD, the metabolite of ginseng saponins
Ginseng is a Chinese traditional herb highly reputed for a variety of health benefits for over two thousand years. Ginsenosides, active ingredients in ginseng, are responsible for the medicinal property of ginseng.
A lot of ginsenosides have been extracted and identified, among which ginsenosides Rh2 and Rg3 were the most studied and best-known one. Scientists made expansive research on the indications of ginsenosides and found that ginsenosides have good anticancer effects on many types of tumor cells, including human breast cancer cells.
Ginsenoside 20(S)-protopanaxadiol, also known as aPPD, is a ginseng saponin that is metabolized from ginsenoside Rh2 or ginsenoside Rb1 by human gut bacteria. Metabolized ginsenoside aPPD is more absorbed by human bodies and present more bioactive than ginsenoside Rh2.
A majority of triple-negative breast cancer presents the overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFT), an important pathway in cancer progression. So targeting EGFR and its related signal pathways may be an effective way to find potential therapeutic strategies.
Ginsenoside aPPD inhibited the metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer in mice
Researchers in the study used animal models to investigate the effect of ginsenoside aPPD against cancer metastasis and the related molecular mechanisms in triple-negative breast cancer.
They found that ginsenoside aPPD significantly reduced tumor growth and lung metastasis in the mouse model.
A mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK or MAP kinase) is a type of protein kinase that regulates cell function include proliferation, gene expression, cell survival, and apoptosis.
Researchers verified that ginsenoside aPPD inhibited the metastasis of triple-negative breast cancer by deactivating MAP kinases family.
It is not too much surprised that ginsenoside aPPD were found to recude the progression of triple-negative breast cancer.
A previous study conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada found that ginsenoside aPPD alone, or in synergy with tamoxifen, a widely used chemotherapy drug for breast cancer, potently inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation and synergistically enhanced the cytotoxicity of tamoxifen on breast cancer cells.
This study supports the possible benefits of ginsenoside aPPD in suppressing triple-negative breast cancer. It indicates that ginsenoside aPPD could be an effective treatment for triple-negative breast cancer.