Research in the use of Digitoxin in Cancer treatment

Cancer Research

Beautiful coincidences often happen and in a beautiful series of coincidences it has been found that Digitoxin, a drug for heart related problems, and its derivatives could help us against cancer.

[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]This review has been published online in the journal of Experimental Hematology and Oncology.

Researchers found that digitalis treatment decreases the chances of recurrence of cancer. However, they have reported that anticancer mechanism of digitoxin and synthetic analogs are still to research further.

Researchers wrote,

Delineating the mechanism of cell cycle arrest and selectivity of digitoxin and its analogs are particularly interesting. First, it will improve our understanding of how digitoxin and its analogs cause G2/M phase arrest in cancer cells. Second, it will help identify novel p53independent therapeutic targets to mediate cancer cell death. Since many cancer types develop resistance to chemotherapy by reducing p53 expression and signaling, identifying p53-independent therapeutic targets will contribute to the development of new and more effective cancer treatments by circumventing p53 related resistance mechanisms. Third, detailing how digitoxin and D6-MA inhibit survivin expression in cancer cells will improve our understanding on how the drugs cause G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis. Last, dissecting the inhibitory effects of these compounds on survivin and p53 expression in cancer cells would explore whether and how the compounds induce mitotic catastrophe.


Hosam A Elbaz, Todd A Stueckle, William Tse, Yon Rojanasakul and Cerasela ZOICA Dinu, (2012). Digitoxin and its analogs as novel cancer therapeutics. Experimental Hematology and Oncology, doi:10.1186/2162-3619-1-4

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