Key cell signaling pathways modulated by zerumbone: role in the prevention and treatment of cancer

Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 Nov 15;84(10):1268-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2012.07.015. Epub 2012 Jul 27.


Phytochemicals and their synthetic derivatives are making a significant contribution in modern drug discovery programs by targeting several human diseases, including cancer. Most of these natural compounds are often multitargeted in nature, which is generally a very desirable property for cancer therapy, as carcinomas typically involve dysregulation of multiple genes and associated cell-signaling pathways at various stages of initiation, progression and metastasis. Additionally, these natural agents generally have lower side-effects, are readily available and hence are cost effective. One such natural compound is zerumbone, a cyclic eleven-membered sesquiterpene, isolated from the tropical plant Zingiber zerumbet Smith that has attracted great attention recently for its potent anticancer activities in several tumor models. This review summarizes the data based on various in vitro and in vivo studies related to the effects of zerumbone on numerous pivotal molecular targets in cancer and its reported chemopreventive/therapeutic effects in different models of cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • zerumbone