Effects of Cantharidin on Cells

Cantharidin and structurally related compounds have been shown to produce cytotoxic effects in a number of human cell lines, including bone, leukemia, neuroblastoma, ovarian, and colon cancer cells. Cantharidin also has cytotoxic activity against a number of primary tumor cells, with 5-10 mM cantharidin sufficient to induce death in 24-120 h (Walter 1989; Wang et al. 1990; McCluskey et al. 2000a,b, 2003; McCluskey and Sakoff 2001). In most cells cantharidin can elicit an apoptotic response (McCluskey et al. 2003).

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