Melanoma is one of the skin cancers that starts in the melanocytes and melanoma cells are usually brown or black. It accounts for only 1% of skin cancers but causes a high mortality rate. The incidence of melanoma has increased steadily for the past 30 years.
Ginseng is a popular medicinal herb that has been used to treat various ailments over two thousand years in East Asian. Ginsenosides are active ingredients in ginseng and hundreds of ginsenosides have been isolated and identified, including Rg3, Rh2, Rb1, Rg1, Rk1, Rk2, Rh3, aPPD, aPPT, etc.
Ginsenosides exhibit antitumor, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidant effects. Researchers have been working on exploring the antitumor effects of ginsenosides on various tumors to find potential anticancer drugs.
A new study published in the International Journal of Oncology found that ginsenoside Rg3 could fight against melanoma (1).
Researchers found in the laboratory study that ginsenoside Rg3 inhibited the growth, metastasis, and melanoma-included angiogenesis of highly metastatic B16 melanoma cells. The antitumor activity of ginsenoside Rg3 against melanoma might work through downregulating the ERK and Akt pathways which play an important role in melanoma growth and progression.
A previous study published in the journal Melanoma Research also found the antitumor effect of ginsenoside Rg3 in B16 melanoma cells. In the experiment, B16 melanoma-bearing mice were given with Rg3 showed significant inhibition of tumor metastasis and longer survival time(2).
There are no effective treatments for advanced melanoma, and the findings of the study suggest that ginsenoside Rg3 may be able to treat melanoma. However, it still needs further verification in human studies.