Tetrandrine: a review of its anticancer potentials, clinical settings, pharmacokinetics and drug delivery systems

Bladder Cancer

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2020 Jul 22. doi: 10.1111/jphp.13339. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Tetrandrine, a natural bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid, possesses promising anticancer activities on diverse tumours. This review provides systematically organized information on cancers of tetrandrine in vivo and in vitro, discuss the related molecular mechanisms and put forward some new insights for the future investigations.

KEY FINDINGS: Anticancer activities of tetrandrine have been reported comprehensively, including lung cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer. The potential molecular mechanisms corresponding to the anticancer activities of tetrandrine might be related to induce cancer cell apoptosis, autophagy and cell cycle arrest, inhibit cell proliferation, migration and invasion, ameliorate metastasis and suppress tumour cell growth. Pharmaceutical applications of tetrandrine combined with nanoparticle delivery system including liposomes, microspheres and nanoparticles with better therapeutic efficiency have been designed and applied encapsulate tetrandrine to enhance its stability and efficacy in cancer treatment.

SUMMARY: Tetrandrine was proven to have definite antitumour activities. However, the safety, bioavailability and pharmacokinetic parameter studies on tetrandrine are very limited in animal models, especially in clinical settings. Our present review on anticancer potentials of tetrandrine would be necessary and highly beneficial for providing guidelines and directions for further research of tetrandrine.