Review Article

Targets and molecular mechanisms of triptolide in cancer therapy

Cuicui Meng, Hongcheng Zhu, Hongmei Song, Zhongming Wang, Guanhong Huang, Defan Li, Zhaoming Ma, Jianhua Ma, Qin Qin, Xinchen Sun, Jianxin Ma


Triptolide (TPL/TL) is a natural drug with novel anticancer effects. Preclinical studies indicated that TPL inhibits cell proliferation, induces cell apoptosis, inhibits tumor metastasis and enhances the effect of other therapeutic methods in various cancer cell lines. Multiple molecules and signaling pathways, such as caspases, heat-shock proteins, NF-κB, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair-associated factors, are associated with the anti-cancer effect. TPL also improves chemoradiosensitivity in cancer therapy. Phase I trials indicate the potential clinical value of TPL use. However, further trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these results.