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Arsenic in Cancer Treatment: Challenges for Application of Realgar Nanoparticles (A Minireview)

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Author(s): Peter Baláž | Ján Sedlák

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 2;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 1568;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: arsenic sulfide | realgar | cancer | nanoparticle | milling

ABSTRACT
While intensive efforts have been made for the treatment of cancer, this disease is still the second leading cause of death in many countries. Metastatic breast cancer, late-stage colon cancer, malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma, and other forms of cancer are still essentially incurable in most cases. Recent advances in genomic technologies have permitted the simultaneous evaluation of DNA sequence-based alterations together with copy number gains and losses. The requirement for a multi-targeting approach is the common theme that emerges from these studies. Therefore, the combination of new targeted biological and cytotoxic agents is currently under investigation in multimodal treatment regimens. Similarly, a combinational principle is applied in traditional Chinese medicine, as formulas consist of several types of medicinal herbs or minerals, in which one represents the principal component, and the others serve as adjuvant ones that assist the effects, or facilitate the delivery, of the principal component. In Western medicine, approximately 60 different arsenic preparations have been developed and used in pharmacological history. In traditional Chinese medicines, different forms of mineral arsenicals (orpiment—As2S3, realgar—As4S4, and arsenolite—arsenic trioxide, As2O3) are used, and realgar alone is included in 22 oral remedies that are recognized by the Chinese Pharmacopeia Committee (2005). It is known that a significant portion of some forms of mineral arsenicals is poorly absorbed into the body, and would be unavailable to cause systemic damage. This review primary focuses on the application of arsenic sulfide (realgar) for treatment of various forms of cancer in vitro and in vivo.
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