Opium alkaloid noscapine is an antitumor agent that arrests metaphase and induces apoptosis in dividing cells

Keqiang Ye, Yong Ke, Nagalakshmi Keshava, John Shanks, Judith A. Kapp, Rajeshwar R. Tekmal, John Petros, Harish C. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

273 Scopus citations

Abstract

An alkaloid from opium, noscapine, is used as an antitussive drug and has low toxicity in humans and mice. We show that noscapine binds stoichiometrically to tubulin, alters its conformation, affects microtubule assembly, and arrests mammalian cells in mitosis. Furthermore, noscapine causes apoptosis in many cell types and has potent antitumor activity against solid murine lymphoid tumors (even when the drug was administered orally) and against human breast and bladder tumors implanted in nude mice. Because noscapine is water-soluble and absorbed after oral administration, its chemotherapeutic potential in human cancer merits thorough evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1601-1606
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume95
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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