Recent advances and future directions in anti-tumor activity of cryptotanshinone: A mechanistic review.


Ashrafizadeh M(1), Zarrabi A(2)(3), Orouei S(4), Saberifar S(5), Salami S(6), Hushmandi K(7), Najafi M(8).
Author information:
(1)Department of Basic Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.
(2)Sabanci University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center
(SUNUM), Tuzla, 34956, Istanbul, Turkey.
(3)Center of Excellence for Functional Surfaces and Interfaces
(EFSUN), Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci University, Tuzla, Istanbul, Turkey.
(4)MSc. Student, Department of Genetics, Tehran Medical Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
(5)Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.
(6)DVM. Graduated, Kazerun Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kazeroon, Iran.
(7)Department of Food Hygiene and Quality Control, Division of Epidemiology & Zoonoses, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
(8)Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Department, School of Paramedical Sciences, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran.


In respect to the enhanced incidence rate of cancer worldwide, studies have focused on cancer therapy using novel strategies. Chemotherapy is a common strategy in cancer therapy, but its adverse effects and chemoresistance have limited its efficacy. So, attempts have been directed towards minimally invasive cancer therapy using plant derived-natural compounds. Cryptotanshinone (CT) is a component of salvia miltiorrihiza Bunge, well-known as Danshen and has a variety of therapeutic and biological activities such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and neuroprotective. Recently, studies have focused on anti-tumor activity of CT against different cancers. Notably, this herbal compound is efficient in cancer therapy by targeting various molecular signaling pathways. In the present review, we mechanistically describe the anti-tumor activity of CT with an emphasis on molecular signaling pathways. Then, we evaluate the potential of CT in cancer immunotherapy and enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy by sensitizing cancer cells into anti-tumor activity of chemotherapeutic agents, and elevating accumulation of anti-tumor drugs in cancer cells. Finally, we mention strategies to enhance the anti-tumor activity of CT, for instance, using nanoparticles to provide targeted drug delivery.