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Beyond DNA binding - a review of the potential mechanisms mediating quinacrine's therapeutic activities in parasitic infections, inflammation, and cancers

Reza Ehsanian123*, Carter Van Waes1 and Stephan M Feller3

Author Affiliations

1 Tumor Biology Section, Head and Neck Surgery Branch, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

2 Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

3 Cell Signalling Group, Department of Molecular Oncology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University, Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DS, UK

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Cell Communication and Signaling 2011, 9:13  doi:10.1186/1478-811X-9-13

Published: 15 May 2011


This is an in-depth review of the history of quinacrine as well as its pharmacokinetic properties and established record of safety as an FDA-approved drug. The potential uses of quinacrine as an anti-cancer agent are discussed with particular attention to its actions on nuclear proteins, the arachidonic acid pathway, and multi-drug resistance, as well as its actions on signaling proteins in the cytoplasm. In particular, quinacrine's role on the NF-κB, p53, and AKT pathways are summarized.