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Ivermectin, a potential anticancer drug derived from an antiparasitic drug

invermectin drug

Ivermectin, a potential anticancer drug derived from an antiparasitic drug


Ivermectin effectively suppresses the proliferation and metastasis of cancer cells and promotes cancer cell death at doses that are nontoxic to normal cells.
Ivermectin shows excellent efficacy against conventional chemotherapy drug-resistant cancer cells and reverses multidrug resistance
Ivermectin combined with other chemotherapy drugs or targeted drugs has powerful effects on cancer.
The structure of crosstalk centered on PAK1 kinase reveals the mechanism by which ivermectin regulates multiple signaling pathways.
Ivermectin has been used to treat parasitic diseases in humans for many years and can quickly enter clinical trials for the treatment of tumors.


Ivermectin is a macrolide antiparasitic drug with a 16-membered ring that is widely used for the treatment of many parasitic diseases such as river blindness, elephantiasis and scabies. Satoshi ōmura and William C. Campbell won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the excellent efficacy of ivermectin against parasitic diseases. Recently, ivermectin has been reported to inhibit the proliferation of several tumor cells by regulating multiple signaling pathways. This suggests that ivermectin may be an anticancer drug with great potential. Here, we reviewed the related mechanisms by which ivermectin inhibited the development of different cancers and promoted programmed cell death and discussed the prospects for the clinical application of ivermectin as an anticancer drug for neoplasm therapy.

Graphical abstract

Ivermectin has powerful antitumor effects, including the inhibition of proliferation, metastasis, and angiogenic activity, in a variety of cancer cells. This may be related to the regulation of multiple signaling pathways by ivermectin through PAK1 kinase. On the other hand, ivermectin promotes programmed cancer cell death, including apoptosis, autophagy and pyroptosis. Ivermectin induces apoptosis and autophagy is mutually regulated. Interestingly, ivermectin can also inhibit tumor stem cells and reverse multidrug resistance and exerts the optimal effect when used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs.


ASC Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD ALCAR acetyl-L-carnitine CSCs Cancer stem cells DAMP Damage-associated molecular pattern EGFR Epidermal growth factor receptor EBV Epstein-Barr virus EMT Epithelial mesenchymal-transition GABA Gamma-aminobutyric acid GSDMD Gasdermin D HBV Hepatitis B virus HCV Hepatitis C virus HER2 Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 HMGB1 High mobility group box-1 protein HSP27 Heat shock protein 27 LD50 median lethal dose LDH Lactate dehydrogenase IVM Ivermectin MDR Multidrug resistance NAC N-acetyl-L-cysteine OCT-4 Octamer-binding protein 4 PAK1 P-21-activated kinases 1 PAMP Pathogen-associated molecular pattern PARP poly (ADP- ribose) polymerase P-gp P-glycoprotein PRR pattern recognition receptor ROS Reactive oxygen species STAT3 Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 SID SIN3-interaction domain siRNA small interfering RNA SOX-2 SRY-box 2 TNBC Triple-negative breast cancer YAP1 Yes-associated protein 1

Chemical compounds reviewed in this article

ivermectin(PubChem CID:6321424)
avermectin(PubChem CID:6434889)
selamectin(PubChem CID:9578507)
doramectin(PubChem CID:9832750)
moxidectin(PubChem CID:9832912)


drug repositionin

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