Ginger augmented chemotherapy: A novel multitarget nontoxic approach for cancer management

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Jun;60(6):1364-73. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500955. Epub 2016 Mar 11.


Cancer, referred to as the 'disease of civilization', continues to haunt humanity due to its dreadful manifestations and limited success of therapeutic interventions such as chemotherapy in curing the disease. Although effective, chemotherapy has repeatedly demonstrated inadequacy in disease management due to its debilitating side effects arising from its deleterious nonspecific effects on normal healthy cells. In addition, development of chemoresistance due to mono-targeting often results in cessation of chemotherapy. This urgently demands development and implementation of multitargeted alternative therapies with mild or no side effects. One extremely promising strategy that yet remains untapped in the clinic is augmenting chemotherapy with dietary phytochemicals or extracts. Ginger, depository of numerous bioactive molecules, not only targets cancer cells but can also mitigate chemotherapy-associated side effects. Consequently, combination therapy involving ginger extract and chemotherapeutic agents may offer the advantage of being efficacious with reduced toxicity. Here we discuss the remarkable and often overlooked potential of ginger extract to manage cancer, the possibility of developing ginger-based combinational therapies, and the major roadblocks along with strategies to overcome them in clinical translation of such inventions. We are optimistic that clinical implementation of such combination regimens would be a much sought after modality in cancer management.

Keywords: Antiemetic; Cancer; Chemotherapy; Ginger; Gingerols; Shogaols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Zingiber officinale / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts