Esophageal cancer is a highly malignant tumor with rapid proliferation and high mortality. Each year, more than 400,000 patients die from esophageal cancer.
Current treatments for esophageal cancer include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Surgical resection is the major treatment whose 5-year survival rate is only about 30%. Chemotherapy is also not ideal for the treatment of esophageal cancer because of the possible side effects. For these reasons, scientists have been always making efforts in finding more feasible alternatives. In the 1960s, Rare ginsenosides, which were found to have strong anticancer activities, attracted scientists’ attention.
Ginsenosides are active ingredients in ginseng that exhibit brilliant anticancer properties. After more than half a century of research, scientists have discovered more than 60 rare ginsenosides.
Recently, a study conducted by a Chinese researcher team found that ginsenoside Rg5 can exert significant anticancer effects on esophageal cancer cells through various pathways.
Ginsenoside Rg5 inhibits the growth and proliferation of esophageal tumor cells
The researchers found that ginsenoside Rg5 can significantly inhibit the growth and proliferation of esophageal cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. The higher concentration rare ginsenoside Rg5 was given, the stronger inhibitory effects esophageal cancer cells would exert. Via SPSS software, the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC 50) of ginsenoside Rg5 was calculated at 8.74 umol/L.
Ginsenoside Rg5 induces apoptosis of esophageal cancer cells by regulating apoptosis-related proteins
The study found that ginsenoside Rg5 can significantly induce the apoptosis of esophageal cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. The pro-apoptotic effect is positively correlated with the concentration, that is, the higher the concentration of rare ginsenoside Rg5, the stronger the ability to promote apoptosis of esophageal cancer.
In the experiments, researchers found that ginsenoside Rg5 upregulated the expression of pro-apoptosis proteins caspase 9 and caspase3 increased and downregulated the expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins, thus inducing apoptosis in esophageal cancer cells.
A large number of previous studies have confirmed that rare ginsenosides have significant anticancer effects before. In this study, in vitro cell experiments showed that ginsenoside Rg5 exerts anticancer effects by inhibiting the growth and proliferation of esophageal cancer cells and inducing apoptosis in esophageal cancer cells. The research result will make a contribution to the application of rare ginsenosides into anticancer drugs.