Anticancer activity of salicin and fenofibrate

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2017 Oct;390(10):1061-1071. doi: 10.1007/s00210-017-1407-y. Epub 2017 Jul 21.


Cancer refers to a disorder of cell proliferation that leads to tumor production. Cancer is usually treated by surgery, chemotherapeutic drugs, and radiation. Despite the presence of many anticancer drugs, cancer is still an uncontrolled disease and is a major cause of death worldwide. In addition, most anticancer drugs have severe side effects that can limit their use in some patients. This study aims to investigate the possible anticancer activity of two clinically used drugs: a natural antioxidant agent (salicin) and an antihyperlipidemic agent (fenofibrate) against two breast cancer models (in vivo EAC and in vitro MCF7) and the pancreatic cancer cell line (Panc-1).Our results have shown that both salicin and fenofibrate exerted an in vivo anticancer activity as evidenced by the decrease in tumor weight, tumor volume, CEA level, and reduced tumor cholesterol content through an antioxidant (reduced MDA level and increased GSH and catalase content) and an antiinflammatory activity (reduced TNF-∝ level). In addition, both salicin and fenofibrate were shown to be cytotoxic to MCF-7 and Panc-1 cell lines through activation of the caspase 3/7 apoptotic pathway.In conclusion, salicin and fenofibrate are promising anticancer drugs that are already used clinically with acceptable safety profile which can be incorporated into clinical trials to determine their possible application in cancer treatment.

Keywords: Ehrlich ascites carcinoma; Fenofibrate; MCF-7; Mice; Panc-1; Salicin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Benzyl Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Benzyl Alcohols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Ehrlich Tumor / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Ehrlich Tumor / pathology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Female
  • Fenofibrate / pharmacology*
  • Fenofibrate / therapeutic use
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mice
  • Tumor Burden / drug effects*
  • Tumor Burden / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Benzyl Alcohols
  • Glucosides
  • salicin
  • Fenofibrate