Piperlongumine is found in several species of the Piper plant and displays many beneficial characteristics, including antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic, and chemotherapeutic activities. Isolated from the fruit of the long pepper, recent research has focused on the ability of this natural product to suppress tumor growth alone and in combination with other chemotherapeutic compounds.
In a study published in 2015, the effects of Piperlongumine were examined in pancreatic cancer cells. Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive malignancy with a relatively poor prognosis, even in cases where it is diagnosed early. There are few good options for chemotherapy.
In vitro, piperlongumine showed inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell lines, inhibited the activation of NF-kB, and also potentiated the apoptotic effects of gemcitabine, a nucleoside analog commonly used in the chemotherapeutic treatment of some cancers. Piperlongumine went on to show significant activity in vivo, where it suppressed tumor growth alone and enhanced the efficacy of gemcitabine in xenograft mouse models. These results were consistent with the downregulation of NF-kB activity and its target genes, decreased proliferation, and increased apoptosis in tumor remnants seen in the model.
The results of the study suggest both potential for piperlongumine as a stand-alone treatment for human pancreatic cancer, as well as a partner-chemotherapeutic with compounds like gemcitabine. Both piperlongumine and gemcitabine are available from LKT Labs for research use.
Wang Y., Wu X., et al. Piperlongumine Suppresses Growth and Sensitizes Pancreatic Tumors to Gemcitabine in a Xenograft Mouse Model by Modulating the NF-kappa B Pathway. Cancer Prev. Res. Mar;9(3):234-44.