An Evaluation of the Anticancer Effects of Triptolide in Pancreatic Cancer
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Ulrich, Charles III
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Pancreatic cancer is among the most lethal human malignancies with a 5-year survival rate of <5%. This adenocarcinoma is resistant to current chemotherapies, highlighting the need for more effective treatments. Recently, triptolide, a diterpenoid that has shown promise in other cancers, has been examined as a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer. The majority of triptolide study has focused on its pro-apoptotic effects through up-regulation of apoptotic pathways and down-regulation of inhibitory pathways. These studies have shown that triptolide is effective both in vitro and in vivo against pancreatic cancer cells. Also, triptolide has been shown to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapies pancreatic adenocarcinoma is usually resistant to when used in conjunction with them. The major reason that triptolide has not had much clinical testing is due to its poor water solubility. Minnelide, a water-soluble prodrug of triptolide, was created to hopefully harness the capabilities of triptolide for clinical use. It is my belief that Minnelide and triptolide should be studied to determine which regions of the molecule impart which anticancer effects. In this way, it may make it easier to determine the reasons behind potential toxic side-effects of the prodrug in humans.