Hyperforin, a bio-active compound of St. John's Wort, is a new inhibitor of angiogenesis targeting several key steps of the process

Int J Cancer. 2005 Dec 10;117(5):775-80. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21246.


Hyperforin, a phloroglucinol derivative found in St. John's wort related mainly to its antidepressant effects, has been reported recently to induce apoptosis in tumour cells and to inhibit cancer invasion and metastasis. We show that hyperforin inhibits angiogenesis in vitro in bovine aortic endothelial cells and in vivo in the chorioallantoic membrane assay. In a variety of experimental systems representing the sequential events of the angiogenic process, hyperforin treatment of endothelial cells resulted in strong inhibitory effects. Hyperforin inhibited the growth of endothelial cells in culture. Capillary tube formation on Matrigel was abrogated completely by addition of hypeforin at the low micromolar range. Hyperforin also exhibited a clear inhibitory effect on the invasive capabilities of endothelial cells. Zymographic assays showed that hyperforin treatment produced a complete inhibition of urokinase and a remarkable inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase 2. Our data indicates that hyperforin is a compound that interferes with key events in angiogenesis, confirming the recent and growing evidence about a potential role of this compound in cancer and metastasis inhibition and making it a promising drug for further evaluation in the treatment of angiogenesis-related pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds / pharmacology
  • Cattle
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypericum / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Phloroglucinol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phloroglucinol / pharmacology
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds
  • Terpenes
  • Phloroglucinol
  • hyperforin