Biochem Pharmacol. 2019 Aug 9. Epub 2019 Aug 9. PMID: 31404528
Withaferin A: from Ayurvedic folk medicine to preclinical anti-cancer drug.
Despite the recent successes of targeted cancer immuno-therapies, drug resistance and disease relapse remain a huge burden in cancer patient treatment. This has fueled renewed interest in natural product discovery to identify new pharmacophores for innovative cancer drug development. Reverse pharmacology approaches of Withania somnifera leaves and roots (alternatively also called Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng in traditional Ayurvedic and Unani folk medicine) have identified Withaferin A (WA) as the most bioactive compound for treatment of inflammatory ailments, supporting traditional use of their corresponding extracts in indigenous medicine. In this review we summarize preclinical in vivo evidence for therapeutic cancer applications of WA and provide a biochemical framework of its polypharmaceutical effects against cancer hallmarks.