Targeting VEGF/VEGFRs Pathway in the Antiangiogenic Treatment of Human Cancers by Traditional Chinese Medicine

Cheng Zhang, Ning Wang, Hor Yue Tan, Wei Guo, Sha Li, Yibin Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Bearing in mind the doctrine of tumor angiogenesis hypothesized by Folkman several decades ago, the fundamental strategy for alleviating numerous cancer indications may be the strengthening application of notable antiangiogenic therapies to inhibit metastasis-related tumor growth. Under physiological conditions, vascular sprouting is a relatively infrequent event unless when specifically stimulated by pathogenic factors that contribute to the accumulation of angiogenic activators such as the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Since VEGFs have been identified as the principal cytokine to initiate angiogenesis in tumor growth, synthetic VEGF-targeting medicines containing bevacizumab and sorafenib have been extensively used, but prominent side effects have concomitantly emerged. Traditional Chinese medicines (TCM)–derived agents with distinctive safety profiles have shown their multitarget curative potential by impairing angiogenic stimulatory signaling pathways directly or eliciting synergistically therapeutic effects with anti-angiogenic drugs mainly targeting VEGF-dependent pathways. This review aims to summarize (a) the up-to-date understanding of the role of VEGF/VEGFR in correlation with proangiogenic mechanisms in various tissues and cells; (b) the elaboration of antitumor angiogenesis mechanisms of 4 representative TCMs, including Salvia miltiorrhiza, Curcuma longa, ginsenosides, and Scutellaria baicalensis; and (c) circumstantial clarification of TCM-driven therapeutic actions of suppressing tumor angiogenesis by targeting VEGF/VEGFRs pathway in recent years, based on network pharmacology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-601
Number of pages20
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Issue number3
Early online date28 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Oncology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • traditional Chinese medicine
  • tumor angiogenesis
  • VEGF


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