Scientific Update: Tiliacorinine may Slow Cholangiocarcinoma Growth – Mechanistic Insights into a New Potential Therapy

Tiliacora triandra is a plant native to Southeast Asia used for cooking and traditional herbal medicine. Multiple studies have also reported that tiliacora triandra can inhibit the growth of various cancer cells. In cholangiocarcinoma, tiliacorinine—an extract from tiliacora triandra—has been shown to cause cancer cell death in vitro and reduce tumor growth in a mouse model.

A recent follow-up study aimed to characterize the mechanisms by which tiliacorinine inhibits cholangiocarcinoma growth. The study found that tiliacorinine increased the expression of bcl-xL and XIAP. These two proteins prevent a type of cell death called apoptosis, so a reduction in their expression due to tiliacorinine may promote cancer cell death. The study also found increased expression of the pro-apoptotic proteins caspase-3 and caspase-9 in tiliacorinine-treated cells, suggesting that tiliacorinine can directly increase cancer cell death in addition to reducing its inhibition.

Additionally, tiliacorinine decreased the expression of pAkt and pSTAT3 proteins, which are involved in anti-apoptotic and growth-promoting signaling pathways. Using a “molecular docking” computer program, the study found that tiliacorinine may act through direct molecular interactions with Akt and STAT3. It may also bind additional proteins involved in the signaling pathway, such as EGFR, PI3K, and JAK2, thereby inhibiting cancer cell growth and promoting cell death. Tiliacorinine seems to be a promising potential treatment option for cholangiocarcinoma and merits further investigation in the lab and potentially in the clinic.

Image source: Detarya et al. 2023.
Image source: Detarya et al. 2023.

Reference:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304416523001848

Kelly Butler

Kelly Butler
Yale School of Medicine, MD program student