Ukrain - A new cancer cure? A systematic review of randomised clinical trials

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT.
BMC Cancer (Impact Factor: 3.36). 02/2005; 5(1):69. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-5-69
Source: PubMed


Ukrain is an anticancer drug based on the extract of the plant Chelidonium majus L. Numerous pre-clinical and clinical investigations seem to suggest that Ukrain is pharmacologically active and clinically effective. We wanted therefore to critically evaluate the clinical trial data in the form of a systematic review.
Seven electronic databases were searched for all relevant randomised clinical trials. Data were extracted and validated by both authors, tabulated and summarised narratively. The methodological quality was assessed with the Jadad score.
Seven trials met our inclusion criteria. Without exception, their findings suggest that Ukrain has curative effects on a range of cancers. However, the methodological quality of most studies was poor. In addition, the interpretation of several trials was impeded by other problems.
The data from randomised clinical trials suggest Ukrain to have potential as an anticancer drug. However, numerous caveats prevent a positive conclusion, and independent rigorous studies are urgently needed.

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    • "Numerous plant-derived compounds were shown to be potent inducers of apoptosis. Some of them have been already used or trialed as anticancer drugs (Zunino and Pratesi, 2004; Mano, 2006; Ernst and Schmidt, 2005). The mechanisms of cytotoxic effect of the greater celandine alkaloids are rather diverse, especially concerning possible involvement of different cell death signaling pathways. "
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    ABSTRACT: Apoptogenic and DNA damaging effects of chelidonine (CHE) and sanguinarine (SAN), two structurally related benzophenanthridine alkaloids isolated from Chelidonium majus L. (Papaveraceae), were compared. Both alkaloids induced apoptosis in human acute T-lymphoblastic leukaemia MT-4 cells. Apoptosis induction by CHE and SAN in these cells was accompanied by caspase-9 and -3 activation and an increase in the pro-apoptotic Bax protein. An elevation in the percentage of MT-4 cells possessing caspase-3 in active form after their treatment with CHE or SAN was in parallel to a corresponding increase in the fraction of apoptotic cells. The involvement of mitochondria in apoptosis induction by both alkaloids was supported by cytochrome C elevation in cytosol, with an accompanying decrease in cytochrome C content in the mitochondrial fraction. At the same time, two alkaloids under study differed drastically in their cell cycle phase-specific effects, since only CHE arrested MT-4 cells in G(2)/M phase. It was shown earlier, that CHE, in contrast to SAN, does not interact directly with DNA. This fact is in line with DNA damaging effects of the alkaloids detected in the COMET assay. Nevertheless, apoptosis-inducing activity of CHE even slightly exceeded that of SAN.
    Toxicology in Vitro 04/2008; 22(2):287-95. DOI:10.1016/j.tiv.2007.08.023 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    • "For many years, chelerythrine and sanguinarine have been used in the treatment of gingival inflammation and supragingival plaque formation (Eley, 1999; Godowski et al., 1995). Ukrain, a semisynthetic thiophosphoric acid compound of chelidonine, has been shown to be a potential anti-cancer drug in clinical trial (Ernst and Schmidt, 2005). Studies demonstrated that these alkaloids possess anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antifungal and anti-viral activities (Ahmad et al., 2000; Lenfeld et al., 1981; Vavreckova et al., 1996a,b; Walterova et al., 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sanguinarine, chelerythrine and chelidonine are isoquinoline alkaloids derived from the greater celandine. They possess a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities. It has been shown that their anti-tumor activity is mediated via different mechanisms, which can be promising targets for anti-cancer therapy. We focused our study on the differential effects of these alkaloids upon cell viability, DNA damage effect and nucleus integrity in mouse primary spleen cells and mouse lymphocytic leukemic cells, L1210. Sanguinarine and chelerythrine produce a dose-dependent increase in DNA damage and cytotoxicity in both primary mouse spleen cells and L1210 cells. Chelidonine did not show a significant cytotoxicity or damage DNA in both cell types, but completely arrested growth of L1210 cells. Examination of nuclear morphology revealed more cells with apoptotic features upon treatment with chelerythrine and sanguinarine, but not chelidonine. In contrast to primary mouse spleen cells, L1210 cells showed slightly higher sensitivity to sanguinarine and chelerythrine treatment. This suggests that cytotoxic and DNA damaging effects of chelerythrine and sanguinarine are more selective against mouse leukemic cells and primary mouse spleen cells, whereas chelidonine blocks proliferation of L1210 cells. The action of chelidonine on normal and tumor cells requires further investigation.
    Cell Biology International 03/2008; 32(2):271-7. DOI:10.1016/j.cellbi.2007.09.004 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "for gemcitabine versus gemcitabine plus celandine extract). Unfortunately, there have been no further reports on this compound [63]. "
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    ABSTRACT: At the present time, there is no obvious answer for many of these design difficulties. This problem will continue to constrain ability to determine the efficacy of integrative medical techniques for patients who have cancer. Patients, however, will continue to gravitate toward alternative treatments, especially when standard cancer treatments fail. Therefore oncologists must be aware of alternative medical agents and techniques, and be able to guide their patients, rather than simply being dismissive.
    Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America 03/2006; 20(1):213-31. DOI:10.1016/j.hoc.2006.01.002 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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