The anticancer properties of cordycepin and their underlying mechanisms

So Young Yoon, Soo Jung Park, Yoon Jung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Cordyceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi that has been used for traditional herbal remedies. It contains various bioactive ingredients including cordycepin. Cordycepin, also known as 3-deoxyadenosine, is a major compound and has been suggested to have anticancer potential. The treatment of various cancer cells with cordycepin in effectively induces cell death and retards their cancerous properties. However, the underlying mechanism is not fully understood. Recent evidence has shed light on the molecular pathways involving cysteine-aspartic proteases (caspases), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK-3β). Furthermore, the pathways are mediated by putative receptors, such as adenosine receptors (ADORAs), death receptors (DRs), and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). This review provides the molecular mechanisms by which cordycepin functions as a singular or combinational anticancer therapeutic agent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3027
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2018


  • Adenosine receptors
  • Anticancer
  • Cordycepin
  • Cordyceps
  • Death receptors


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