An earlier study on the compound revealed that it can inhibit the proliferation of gastric cancer cells, as well as induce cell death or apoptosis. The study, led by the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, indicated that evodiamine can decrease survivin mRNA expression, a protein known to inhibit apoptosis. The current study builds on this research to determine if the anti-cancer property of evodiamine is applicable even to glioblastoma, a disease that affected nearly 23,000 Americans in 2015 – over half of these diagnoses resulted in death.
The researchers found that evodiamine can effectively target gliomas – tumors that occur in the brain and spinal cord – without harming nearby astrocytes. According to the researchers, evodiamine can also disrupt other expressions in the brain that can regulate proteins and compounds that contribute to the development of glioblastoma. A physicochemical analysis also revealed the presence of alkyl chemicals in evodiamine, which improve its ability to prevent gliomas from forming.
These results are promising, especially with the challenges in treating glioblastoma. Unlike other forms of cancer, where tumors are identified and can be excised, removing a glioma is nearly impossible, given its tentacles that extend from the tumor mass into relatively healthy tissue. Using drug therapy to treat the disease is also challenging, as most drugs cannot enter the brain to address the tumor. The blood-brain barrier (BBB), in particular, is an intricate network of blood vessels that serve as a boundary between the bloodstream and the blood. This helps block harmful substances from entering the brain – including most drugs used in chemotherapy. (Related: Chemotherapy and the brain: How this “healing” treatment actually damages cognition.)
"EVO [Evodiamine] was shown to penetrate the blood-brain barrier," the researchers wrote in their report. "EVO is therefore predicted to be a promising compound for the chemotherapy of glioblastomas and deserves further investigations."
The etiology of glioblastoma, like other brain tumors, is still unclear. However, experts have identified certain risk factors that can increase a person's likelihood of getting the disease.
Learn more about glioblastoma and other forms of brain cancer at Cancer.news.