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January 2020

J Pharm Belg. 1992 Sep-Oct; 47(5): 417-24.

[Taxol and related diterpenoids of Taxus sp.: important acquisitions in the treatment of cancer]

Vanhaelen MH.

Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie et de Bromatologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Phytochemical and pharmacological studies on Taxus sp extracts have resulted in the isolation and the identification of several diterpenoids, and the discovery of the potent antitumor activity of taxol. This natural compound displays a unique mechanism of action as it stabilizes microtubules and inhibits their depolymerization into free tubulin. The emergence of taxol from the screening of natural products shows the benefits and the potent interest of these constituents in the search of drugs exhibiting novel mechanisms of action. The most pressing problem in taxol or taxol derivates commercialization is the drug supply. Alternative sources of taxol are now under investigation, mainly the total synthesis of taxol, the hemisynthesis of taxol or of taxotere from 10-deacetylbaccatine III, the in vitro production of taxol by cell or tissue cultures, and the prospection of new natural sources of taxol.

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