Ukrain is a semisynthetic compound of thiophosphoric acid and the alkaloid chelidonine derived from the plant Chelidonium majus, a common weed in Europe and western Asia. For many centuries, the plant has been used in the therapy of warts and skin cancers.
Ukrain has been used in alternative herbal medicine for more than 20 years without knowledge of its mechanisms of action (108). It showed activity against a broad spectrum of tumors and is included in multiple trials in Europe, including pancreatic cancer trials (109,110).
Ukrain inhibits pancreatic cell cycle progression in the M phase by stabilizing monomeric tubulin (111).
A single-institution phase II trial randomizing 42 patients to receive 10 mg ukrain every other day for 20 days or placebo demonstrated a longer median survival of 17.7 months in the ukrain group, compared with 6.97 months in the placebo arm (110).
Gemcitabine & Ukrain
Ukrain, gemcitabine and a combination of both drugs were compared in a phase II randomized trial. Gemcitabine administration was per standard dose schedule of 1,000 mg/m2 weekly for 3 weeks and was associated with an expected median survival of 5.2 months.
Ukrain was administered similarly in both the single-agent and combination arms: 20 mg/m2 daily for 5 days. The three arms were well balanced and had 30 patients each.
Survival outcomes associated with ukrain were promisting, with median survival times of 7.9 and 10.4 months for ukrain alone and the combination arm, respectively. Toxicities were moderate and acceptable. (111).
108. Ramadani M, Gansauge S, Muehling B et al, Ukrain (NSC-631570) is a strong mitotic inhibitor and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Pancreas 2001;23:456.
109. Zemskov, VS, Procopchuk, OL, Susak, YM et al. Ukrain (NSC-631570) in the treatment of pancreas cancer. Drugs Exp Clin Res 2000;26:179-190.
110. Zemskov VS, Procopchuk O. Susak, YM et al. Efficacy of ukrain in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Lagenbecks Arch Surg 2002;387:84-89.
111. Gansauge R, Ramadani M, Pressmar J et al. NSC-631570 (ukrain) in the palliative treatment of pancreatic cancer. Results of a phase II trial. Lagenbecks Arch Surg 2002;386:570-574
Excerpted from The Oncologist,Volume 8, Number 1, 2003: "Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer: Emerging Strategies in Chemotherapy and Palliative Care".
Francois G. El Kamar, Michael L. Grossbard, Peter S. Kozuch
Division of Hematology and Oncology, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, USA.
LINK for more information
LINK to Brainlife
Brain Tumor Medical Database
Posted May 2006
Source J Evidence-based CAM, 2005
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