Artemisinin-Type Drugs in Tumor Cell Death: Mechanisms, Combination Treatment with Biologics and Nanoparticle Delivery

Xinyu Zhou, Fengzhi Suo, Kristina Haslinger, Wim J. Quax*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
190 Downloads (Pure)


Artemisinin, the most famous anti‐malaria drug initially extracted from Artemisia annua L., also exhibits anti‐tumor properties in vivo and in vitro. To improve its solubility and bioavailability, multiple derivatives have been synthesized. However, to reveal the anti‐tumor mechanism and improve the efficacy of these artemisinin‐type drugs, studies have been conducted in recent years. In this review, we first provide an overview of the effect of artemisinin‐type drugs on the regulated cell death pathways, which may uncover novel therapeutic approaches. Then, to over-come the shortcomings of artemisinin‐type drugs, we summarize the recent advances in two different therapeutic approaches, namely the combination therapy with biologics influencing regulated cell death, and the use of nanocarriers as drug delivery systems. For the former approach, we discuss the superiority of combination treatments compared to monotherapy in tumor cells based on their effects on regulated cell death. For the latter approach, we give a systematic overview of nanocarrier design principles used to deliver artemisinin‐type drugs, including inorganic‐based nanoparticles, liposomes, micelles, polymer‐based nanoparticles, carbon‐based nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers and niosomes. Both approaches have yielded promising findings in vitro and in vivo, providing a strong scientific basis for further study and upcoming clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number395
Number of pages27
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10-Feb-2022


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