skin cancer natural medicine

cancer of the skin is characterized by an imbalance towards too little apoptosis, or too much cell proliferation and survival in the epidermis [3]. there has been a growing interest in the use of complementary and alternative medicines (cam), due to the disadvantages associated with conventional cancer chemotherapies and the supposed advantages of more natural treatment options [15]. laminarans, fucoidans, alginic acids and carrageenans are some of the compounds isolated from marine sources that have been found to exhibit effective anti-cancer activities. such regression was due to an immune response stimulated by the bacterial infection and it was this discovery that caused the advent of cancer immunotherapy. extracts of tilia amurensis and camellia sinensis were tested on cancer cell lines originating from the skin and they were found to have cytotoxic effects in vitro [33,34]. figure 2 illustrates the chemical structures of some flavonoids that have been found to exhibit anti-cancer activities and are discussed in the sections that follow. [58], quercetin induced apoptosis in murine melanoma cells (b16–bl6) by attenuating the expression of b cell lymphoma 2 (bcl-2) and potentiating caspase-3 activity. epigallocatechin-3-gallate [egcg, chemical structure shown in figure 2c] is a stable and water soluble member of the group of flavonoids referred to as flavan-3-ols [73]. the anti-cancer activities of apigenin have been observed in vitro in various cell lines, such as head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells, melanoma cells and liver cells. in vitro studies showed that daidzein was able to inhibit uvb induced production of hydrogen peroxide within cells and therefore the protection of the keratinocytes. the potential mmp-9 inhibitory action of hinokiflavone was investigated using pharmacophore modeling and it was reported to have inhibitory effects on mmp-9 which in turn may result in anti-metastasis effects [99]. β-carotene seemed to have activated bax, a pro-apoptosis protein, in melanoma cells, although no evidence of apoptosis actually occurring in the cells have been found. lycopene acts by trapping platelet-derived growth factor-bb, which in turn inhibits migration and the signaling of fibroblasts that are induced by melanoma cells. vitamins are families of essential compounds that cannot be produced within the human body and are therefore taken in with food and as supplements.

it has also been reported that the combination of all-trans-retinoic acid and egcg had a synergistic anti-cancer effect on melanoma, as all-trans-retinoic acid up regulates the 67-kda laminin receptor, which is thought to be crucial to the action of egcg [127]. a direct relationship between plasma levels of vitamin d and the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers in women has, however, been reported [147]. a number of studies have been performed to determine the efficacy of vitamin e formulations as photo-protectants and chemo-protectants. ferula spp and some mushroom (ganoderma lucidum and coriolus versicolor) are some of the plants containing terpenoid extracts that have been tested for cytotoxic activity against melanoma cells in vitro. the potency of resveratrol has been demonstrated by its ability to induce apoptosis in doxorubicin resistant murine melanoma cells and its ability to inhibit growth of doxorubicin resistant melanoma tumors in mice [172]. curcumin is able to induce apoptosis that is independent of p53 activity in melanoma cells in a time and dose dependent manner. in vivo studies on the actions of sulforaphane in a murine melanoma model have revealed that sulforaphane is anti-metastatic and has potential for application in cancer immunotherapy. [200] found that hypericin had been activated by uva and resulted in melanoma cell death through the processes of apoptosis and necrosis [200,201]. the effect of topical application of 10% tea tree oil in dimethylsulphoxide to subcutaneous melanoma tumor bearing mice was also investigated and it was reported that a significant inhibition in tumor growth had been observed [211]. these lectins were found to inhibit tumor growth in mice, due to the immuno-modulatory effects of interleukin-12 that enhance the functions of t-cells and nk-cells [219]. ursolic acid has been observed to stimulate expression of the p53 protein and to inhibit activation of nf-κb in human and murine melanoma cells, which in turn resulted in apoptosis [229,230]. this article has summarized some of the compounds and plants that have been studied to date for their possible anti-cancer properties. since some natural products have shown the potential for use in the symptomatic treatment of cancer, or to treat the adverse effects associated with cancer therapies, this has led to an increase in self-medication by cancer patients, seeking safer and more effective products. all the named authors played an active role in the planning and writing of this publication.

*both authors are associated with the department of medicine, division of dermatology, university of washington school of medicine, seattle, washington address correspondence and reprint requests to: jeremy t. kampp, md, 4225 roosevelt way ne, 4th floor, seattle, wa 98105, or e-mail: [email protected] alternative herbal remedies for skin cancer are commonly found on the internet. to review the evidence behind several commonly advertised herbal remedies that claim to cure skin cancer: black salve, eggplant, frankincense, cannabis, black raspberry, milk thistle, st. john’s wort, and turmeric.

botanicals that were excluded are those that do not have published studies of their efficacy as skin cancer treatments. dermatologists must be aware of common herbal alternatives for skin cancer treatment to maintain effective patient communication and education.

one of the most popular skin cancer natural treatment options is coconut oil. our skin is absorbent, and coconut oil is often used as a vitamins, herbal remedies, and other all-natural products can interact with cancer treatment. vitamin a, vitamin c, and st. john’s wort are especially worrisome other herbs with antioxidant and skin-protecting effects include bilberry ( vaccinium myrtillus ) , ginkgo ( ginkgo biloba ) , milk thistle (, .

ingenol mebutate, hypericin, coffee, tea, black salve, bloodroot, paclitaxel, and beta-carotene have been studied for their effects on nmsc in extracts from sponges, algae and marine cyanobacteria have shown strong anti-cancer activities [18,19,20]. laminarans, fucoidans, alginic acids and carrageenans “natural” skin cancer remedies standard of care for non-melanoma skin cancer (nmsc) is mohs micrographic or excisional surgery. nonsurgical treatments include, .

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