Ginsenosides are bioactive ingredients in Araliaceae plants such as Panax ginseng, American ginseng. Ginsenosides have become a popular direction for anti-cancer research since scientists found the anti-cancer effects of ginsenosides in 1960s. Over half century, scientists successively identify more than 50 types of ginsenosides and their chemical structures.
Rare ginsenosides are more highly bioactive
Scientists have discovered that ginsenosides convert into more highly bioactive ingredients through metabolism and transformation. Therefore, the ginsenosides that exist in Araliaceae plants is called prototype ginsenosides, while the more highly bioactive ingredients obtained through metabolism of prototype ginsenosides are named as rare ginsenosides. Rare ginsenoside Rh2 and Rg3 are currently well-known as anti-cancer products are developed.
Two anti-cancer effects
Scientists state that rare ginsenosides mainly exhibit anti-cancer effects in two aspects. On the one hand, rare ginsenosides inhibit cancer cells directly. Current research shows that rare ginsenosides Rh2, Rg3 and Rg5 induce cancer cell apoptosis, inhibit cancer cell growth and spread. On the other hand, rare ginsenosides protect kidney against cancer. The damage to kidney is one of the most common side effects of tumor treatment. Protecting kidney helps other drugs to exert anti-cancer effects maximumly.
Scientists have conducted wide research on the protective effects of rare ginsenosides on kidney and made following achievements.
Rare ginsenosides Rh3 reduces chemotherapeutical damage to kidney
Chemotherapy is usually used to treat cancer, but it brings damage to kidney at the same time.
Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutical drugs for tumor treatment, known for highly curable rate, with more than 90% possibility of curing testicular cancer. However, a high dosage of cisplatin brings patients severe side effects, especially nephrotoxicity. At present, there are no drugs that protect patients from cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity, which significantly limits the clinical application of cisplatin.
Researchers found in the test of cell in vitro that rare ginsenosides Rh3 reduces the number of cisplatin-induced cell apoptosis. That is to say, Rh3 exerts significantly protective effects on kidney against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Previous research shows that Rh3 exerts moderate toxic effects on human cancer cells. Therefore, Rh3 reduces cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity without interfering in anti-cancer activity.
Combination therapy exerts synergistic effects and attenuates toxicity
The research shows the therapeutic potential of combining rare ginsenosides anti-cancer drugs and chemotherapy drugs. Combination therapy not only improves anti-cancer effects but also reduces cytotoxicity, which will significantly improve the efficacy of treatment.
In addition, lots of research shows that different types of rare ginsenosides exhibit different therapeutic function. Thus, several types of rare ginsenosides act together will exert synergistic effects.