Pharmaceuticals targeting signaling pathways of endometriosis as potential new medical treatment: A review
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Officially Accepted for Publication


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AbstractEndometriosis (EM) is defined as endometrial tissues found outside the uterus. Growth and development of endometriotic cells in ectopic sites can be promoted via multiple pathways, including MAPK/MEK/ERK, PI3K/Akt/mTOR, NF‐κB, Rho/ROCK, reactive oxidative stress, tumor necrosis factor, transforming growth factor‐β, Wnt/β‐catenin, vascular endothelial growth factor, estrogen, and cytokines. The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms include proliferation, apoptosis, autophagy, migration, invasion, fibrosis, angiogenesis, oxidative stress, inflammation, and immune escape. Current medical treatments for EM are mainly hormonal and symptomatic, and thus the development of new, effective, and safe pharmaceuticals targeting specific molecular and signaling pathways is needed. Here, we systematically reviewed the literature focused on pharmaceuticals that specifically target the molecular and signaling pathways involved in the pathophysiology of EM. Potential drug targets, their upstream and downstream molecules with key aberrant signaling, and the regulatory mechanisms promoting the growth and development of endometriotic cells and tissues were discussed. Hormonal pharmaceuticals, including melatonin, exerts proapoptotic via regulating matrix metallopeptidase activity while nonhormonal pharmaceutical sorafenib exerts antiproliferative effect via MAPK/ERK pathway and antiangiogenesis activity via VEGF/VEGFR pathway. N‐acetyl cysteine, curcumin, and ginsenoside exert antioxidant and anti‐inflammatory effects via radical scavenging activity. Natural products have high efficacy with minimal side effects; for example, resveratrol and epigallocatechin gallate have multiple targets and provide synergistic efficacy to resolve the complexity of the pathophysiology of EM, showing promising efficacy in treating EM. Although new medical treatments are currently being developed, more detailed pharmacological studies and large sample size clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of these treatments in the near future.
Acceptance Date19/03/2021
All Author(s) ListHung SW, Zhang RZ, Tan ZYR, Chung JPW, Zhang T, Wang CC
Journal nameMedicinal Research Reviews
Year2021
ISSN0198-6325
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2021-23-06 at 23:29