Delivery systems for birch-bark triterpenoids and their derivatives in anticancer research

Inese Mierina, Reinis Vilskersts, Māris Turks (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Birch-bark triterpenoids and their semi-synthetic derivatives possess a wide range of biological activities including cytotoxic effects on various tumor cell lines. However, due to the low solubility and bioavailability, their medicinal applications are rather limited. The use of various nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems is a rapidly developing approach to the solubilization of insufficiently bioavailable pharmaceuticals. Herein, the drug delivery systems deemed to be applicable for birch-bark triterpenoid structures are reviewed. The aforementioned disadvantages of birch-bark triterpenoids and their semi-synthetic derivatives can be overcome through their incorporation into organic nanoparticles, which include various dendrimeric systems, as well as embedding the active compounds into polymer matrices or complexation with carbohydrate nanoparticles without covalent bonding. Some of the known triterpenoid delivery systems consist of nanoparticles featuring inorganic cores cov-ered with carbohydrates or other polymers. Methods for delivering the title compounds through encapsulation and emulsification into lipophilic media are also suitable. Besides, the birch-bark triterpenoids can form self-assembling systems with increased bio-availability. Even more, the self-assembling systems are used as carriers for delivering other chemothera-peutic agents. Another advantage besides increased bioavailability and anticancer activity is the reduced overall systemic toxicity in most of the cases, when triterpenoids are delivered with any of the carriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1336
Number of pages29
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020


  • Betulin
  • Betulinic acid
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Lupeol
  • Oleanolic acid
  • Semi-synthetic derivatives

Field of Science*

  • 1.4 Chemical sciences
  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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