Natural paclitaxel: a highly effective and low toxic anticancer drug

Paclitaxel, a natural anticancer drug with the formula C47H51NO14, has been widely used in the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and some head, neck and lung cancers. As a diterpenoid alkaloid with anticancer activity, paclitaxel has been greatly favored by botanists, chemists, pharmacologists and molecular biologists due to its novel and complex chemical structure, extensive and significant biological activity, new and unique mechanism of action, and scarce natural resources, making it the star and research focus of anticancer in the second half of the 20th century.

Natural paclitaxel,a highly effective and low toxic anticancer drug

Mechanism of action of paclitaxel

Paclitaxel inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells mainly by inducing cell cycle arrest and inducing mitotic disaster. Its novel and complex chemical structure gives it a unique biological mechanism of action. Paclitaxel can inhibit cell proliferation by inhibiting the polymerization of tubulin and destroying the cell microtubule network. In addition, paclitaxel can also induce the expression of pro-apoptotic mediators and regulate the activity of anti-apoptotic mediators, thereby inducing apoptosis of cancer cells.

Anti-cancer activity of paclitaxel

Paclitaxel has attracted much attention due to its high efficiency and low toxicity of anticancer activity. In clinical practice, paclitaxel has been shown to have significant therapeutic effects on a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, some head and neck cancers, and lung cancer. Through its unique biological mechanism, paclitaxel can effectively inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and induce apoptosis of cancer cells. In addition, the anti-cancer activity of paclitaxel is also related to its ability to regulate the immune response of tumor cells.

Resource scarcity of paclitaxel

Although paclitaxel has significant anticancer activity, its resource scarcity has limited its widespread clinical use. Paclitaxel is mainly extracted from Pacific yew trees, and due to limited natural resources, the production of paclitaxel is far from meeting clinical needs. Therefore, the search for new sources of paclitaxel, such as the production of paclitaxel by biosynthesis or chemical synthesis, is the focus of current research.


As a natural anticancer drug, paclitaxel has the characteristics of high efficiency, low toxicity and broad spectrum, and its unique biological mechanism of action and significant anticancer activity make it an important cancer treatment drug in clinical practice. However, due to the scarcity of its resources, its wide application in clinical practice is limited. Therefore, future research should focus on finding new sources of paclitaxel to meet clinical needs and provide more treatment options for cancer patients.

Note: The potential benefits and applications presented in this article are derived from the published literature.

Post time: Nov-24-2023