Akram Ghantous, Hala Gali-Muhtasib, Heikki Vuorela, Najat A. Saliba, and Nadine Darwiche. What made sesquiterpene lactones reach cancer clinical trials
?. Drug Discovery Today Volume 00, Number 00, June 2010
Sesquiterpene lactones (SLs) are plant-derived compounds often used in traditional medicine against inflammation and cancer. This review focuses on the chemical and biological properties of SLs that lead to enhanced anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. The chemical properties comprise alkylating center reactivity, lipophilicity, and molecular geometry and electronic features. SLs in clinical trials are artemisinin, thapsigargin and parthenolide and many of their synthetic derivatives. These drugs are selective toward tumor and cancer stem cells by targeting specific signaling pathways, which make them lead compounds in cancer clinical trials.