|Molecular Weight||196.2 g/mol|
|Solubility||Soluble in DMSO at 20 mg/mL or ethanol at 5 mg/mL.|
The terpenoid Cantharidin is a natural toxin secreted by blister beetles as a defense mechanism and during egg laying. Used to treat cancer for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, Cantharidin has also been used as a putative aphrodisiac and wart remover (1). More recently, Cantharidin has been studied as a protein phosphatase inhibitor and anticancer agent. Cantharidin inhibits protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) catalytic subunit activity (IC50 = 0.16 mM) more potently than type 1 protein phosphatase (IC50 = 1.7 mM); phosphatase type 2B is only inhibited at high Cantharidin concentrations (2). Cantharidin inhibited pancreatic cancer cell growth and was less toxic against normal pancreatic duct cells. Treatment with Cantharidin caused G2/M cell-cycle arrest, induced apoptosis, and increased pro-apoptotic factor expression (3). Cantharidin treatment of MCF7 cells induced apoptosis and repressed cell growth, adhesion, and migration, likely by downregulating cell surface α2 integrin through PP2A inhibition and the protein kinase C pathway (4).
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