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General Review Article

Cordycepin in Anticancer Research: Molecular Mechanism of Therapeutic Effects

[ Vol. 27 , Issue. 6 ]


Md. Asaduzzaman Khan* and Mousumi Tania*   Pages 983 - 996 ( 14 )


Background: Cordycepin is a nucleotide analogue from Cordyceps mushrooms, which occupies a notable place in traditional medicine.

Objective: In this review article, we have discussed the recent findings on the molecular aspects of cordycepin interactions with its recognized cellular targets, and possible mechanisms of its anticancer activity.

Methods: We have explored databases like pubmed, google scholar, scopus and web of science for the update information on cordycepin and mechanisms of its anticancer activity, and reviewed in this study.

Results: Cordycepin has been widely recognized for its therapeutic potential against many types of cancers by various mechanisms. More specifically, cordycepin can induce apoptosis, resist cell cycle and cause DNA damage in cancer cells, and thus kill or control cancer cell growth. Also cordycepin can induce autophagy and modulate immune system. Furthermore, cordycepin also inhibits tumor metastasis. Although many success stories of cordycepin in anticancer research in vitro and in animal model, and there is no successful clinical trial yet.

Conclusion: Ongoing research studies have reported highly potential anticancer activities of cordycepin with numerous molecular mechanisms. The in vitro and in vivo success of cordycepin in anticancer research might influence the clinical trials of cordycepin, and this molecule might be used for development of future cancer drug.


Cordycepin, apoptosis, cell cycle, immuno-modulation, DNA damage, cancer therapeutics.


Key Laboratory of Epigenetics and Oncology, The Research Center for Preclinical Medicine, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan, Molecular Cancer Research Division, Red-Green Research Center, Dhaka

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