Therapeutic potential of natural products in glioblastoma treatment: targeting key glioblastoma signaling pathways and epigenetic alterations

  • M. N. Abbas
  • S. Kausar
  • H. CuiEmail author
Review Article


Glioma is the most common primary tumor of the nervous system, and approximately 50% of patients exhibit the most aggressive form of the cancer, glioblastoma. Currently, considerable research in glioblastoma therapeutics is aimed at developing vaccines or drugs to target key molecules for combating this disease. Studies on plant natural products from spices, vegetables, fruits, teas, and traditional medicinal herbs display that these plant-derived natural products can act as effective antioxidant and anti-tumor agents. The advancements in metabolomics and in genomics have enabled researchers to better evaluate the potential use of immunomodulatory natural plant products for treatment of different cancerous diseases. The glioblastoma protective activities of the different natural plant products lie in their effects on cellular defenses such as antioxidant enzyme systems, detoxification and the stimulation of anti-inflammatory, anti-metastasis responses and by modifying epigenetic alterations, often through targeting specific key transcription factors such as activator protein, nuclear factor kappa B, signal transducers and activators of transcription and so on. Here, we review recent knowledge on the molecular mechanisms by which different inflammatory activities are linked to progression of glioblastoma and the particular immunomodulatory plant products that may reduce inflammation and the associated progression and metastasis of glioblastoma both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, their impact on the epigenetic alterations will also be discussed.


Glioblastoma Therapeutic targeting Natural compounds Cell proliferation Epigenetic regulators 



This study was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant number 2016YFC1302204 and 2017YFC1308600) and by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 81672502 to H. Cui).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

MNA declares that he has no conflict of interest. SK declares that she has no conflict of interest. HC declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome BiologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Engineering Research Center for Cancer Biomedical and Translational MedicineSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Chongqing Engineering and Technology Research Center for Silk Biomaterials and Regenerative MedicineSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  4. 4.Medical Research InstituteSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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