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More about Podophyllotoxin

What is/are Podophyllotoxin?

Podophyllotoxin (abbreviated as PPT), otherwise known as podofilox, is a non-alkaloid toxin lignan extracted from the roots and rhizomes of Podophyllum species. Under the trade names Condylox, a gel, and Wartec, a solution or cream, it is used on the skin as a topical treatment of external genital warts, caused by some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), and other warts. PPT and its derivatives display a wide selection in medical applications such as purgative, vesicant, antirheumatic, antiviral, and antitumor agents. These derivatives include etoposide, teniposide, and etopophos. Their anticancer activity has been heavily under study and used in various chemotherapies, including lung cancer, lymphomas, and genital tumors.

Medical uses

Podophyllotoxin displays a range of activities such as cathartic, purgative, antiviral, vesicant, and antihelminthic. Additionally, the lignan and its derivatives are exciting leads for anti-tumor agent. For instance, podophyllotoxin is the pharmacological precursor for the important anticancer drug etoposide.

Adverse effects

Application can be immediately followed by burning or itching. Small sores, itching and peeling skin can also follow.

Mechanism of action

Podophyllotoxin's anticancer property can be attributed to the inhibition of tubulin polymerization. As podophyllotoxin binds to the tubulin, microtubule formation is prevented. Consequently, podophyllotoxin arrests the cell cycle in the metaphase. Podophyllotoxin derivatives display binding activity to the enzyme topoisomerase II during the late S and early G2 stage. For instance, etoposide binds and stabilizes the temporary break caused by the enzyme, disrupts the reparation of the break through which the double-stranded DNA passes, and consequently stops DNA unwinding and replication. Mutants resistant to either podophyllotoxin, or to its topoisomerase II inhibitory derivatives such as etoposide (VP-16), have been described in Chinese hamster cells. The mutually exclusive cross-resistance patterns of these mutants provide a highly specific mean to distinguish the two kinds of podophyllotoxin derivatives. Mutant Chinese hamster cells resistant to podophyllotoxin are affected in a protein P1 that was later identified as the mammalian HSP60 or chaperonin protein.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Podophyllotoxin, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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