Hibifolin and Its Use in Melanoma (Skin Cancer) Research

We know cancer is one of the deadliest diseases all over the world. Although it is not infectious but is still the second most leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. 1 out of every 8 deaths is due to cancer. According to some estimates number of deaths from cancer will increase from 7.1 million in 2002 to 11.5 million in 2030. According to International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2020, almost 19.9 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed. Among these almost 10.9 million people died in 2020 due to cancer. Such cancer burden is increasing worldwide wide due to various factors; amid which aging and population growth are on the top. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is emerging rapidly and can be fatal. It also contributes to the overall death toll from cancer. To cope with the situation although many chemotherapeutic procedures are employed due to their side effects, studies now focus more on medicines derived from plants. As they provide better medicinal benefits for cancer treatment as compared to chemotherapies. One of the emerging plants is Hibifolin which is being used and implemented in various cancer treatments specifically for melanoma.

This article highlights the importance of Hibifolin and its use as an effective agent for melanoma treatment. 

Melanoma (Deadliest Skin Cancer):

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in melanocytes responsible for producing melanin. This is the deadliest type of skin cancer that can even lead to death. It can occur on any part of your skin and in rare cases it can develop inside your throat or nose or in any other part inside your body.

Causes of Melanoma

The exact cause of melanoma is not clear. But scientists identify that melanoma develops when there is something wrong in cells producing melanin. This change can damage the DNA of melanin-producing skin cells leading to the development of melanoma. This adverse change is due to various factors like a mutation in genes and environmental factors like UV radiation.

Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays can significantly damage a cell’s DNA leading to uncontrolled development of mutated cells. It can also develop from tanning lamps that appeared on your skin.

Worldwide Statistics of Melanoma

Melanoma cases have increased 50% from the last decade and have continued to increase to an extent that doctors have considered it a global epidemic. According to a 2018 report, 287,723 cases of melanoma were diagnosed of which 60,712 people died. Moreover according to recent reports from WHO (World Health Organization) number of mortalities from melanoma will rise to 74% in 2040. Another report predicts that by 2025 the number of melanoma cases will rise to 18% (340,271 cases worldwide) and the mortality rate will rise to 20% (i.e. 72,886. Deaths). In this way, almost half a million people will be diagnosed with melanoma which is alarming.

Symptoms of Melanoma

As discussed above melanoma can develop on any part of your skin. One of the very first symptoms of this disease is the change in existing mole or development of darkening skin patches over the skin. Such patches can vary in color and texture.

Risk Factors

We know melanoma can occur anywhere on the body. It can even occur in areas that do not come in contact with UV radiation frequently. These areas include palms, toes, genitals, etc. people with dark skin are at more risk of developing this disease as they cannot differentiate between normal and mutated skin. Other risk factors include fair skin, sunburn, living in an equatorial region, exposure to UV rays, or having a family history of this disease. Another most important factor delaying treatment. A delay in melanoma treatment for just one month can increase the death rate up to 5%.

Prevention of Melanoma

Before coming in contact with any type of disease it is very important to take proper precautionary measures to avoid developing such diseases. In the case of Melanoma, a person must avoid coming in contact with UV radiation, avoid the sun during the middle of the day, and wear protective clothing, and using sun protection creams. The most important thing a person must notice any change in its skin and consult the doctor immediately.

Types of Melanoma:

According to research just like some other cancerous cells, melanoma can be benign or malignant. 

Malignant Skin Cancer:

This is the type of melanoma that can spread to different areas of the skin. This type of cancer is dangerous as it affects other areas of the body and can also spread rapidly.

Benign Skin Cancer:

This type of skin cancer is confined to only one place and appears like a mole. It does not affect other parts of the body.

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer as compared to other skin cancer. This is because it is mostly malignant and spread rapidly to other parts of the body. So it is very important to treat this disease on time otherwise it can be fatal.

Advances in Melanoma research:

Melanoma Research Foundation has established a group of scientists and clinicians, known as the Scientific Advisory Council and Breakthrough Consortium. This consortium aims to provide treatment of this disease by the innovation of novel therapies. For this purpose, a 6th melanoma Bridge Meeting held in November 2015 by MFR. This meeting aimed to focus on the following four areas; development of new therapies and drugs, molecular and immune advances, the study of tumor biomarkers and microenvironment, news in immunotherapy.

The development of new therapies and drugs is concerned with the extraction of effective chemicals from plants. Plants have medicinal properties and are very effective in the development of anticancer drugs. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has screened almost 35000 plant species that have potential anticancer properties. Among these 3000 species have been reported to have reproducible anticancer properties. One such drug extracted from plants is Hibifolin. This chemical is now being implemented in the research and development of melanoma treatment.

Flavonol Glycosides:

Yellowish compounds are present in plants containing 3-hydroxyflavonol. Scientists differentiate these compounds on the basis of the phenolic groups. These compounds are secondary metabolites that plants form. Therefore, such compounds are widely found in kingdom Plantae and are found in various fruits and vegetables. Flavonol glycosides possess anti-oxidative, anti-proliferation activities due to which it is considered as an important medicinal compound.

Hibifolin – A Flavonol Glycoside:

Hibifolin (C₂₁H₁₈O₁₄) is a flavonol glycoside obtained from a herbal plant known as Abelmoschus manihot. Its molecular formula is 493.36 g/mol. It is a bioactive compound that possesses, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anticonvulsant, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective properties. Because of such properties, it is an effective agent in melanoma treatment research advances.

Hibifolin – Flavonol Glycoside

Working of Hibifolin: 

The compound Hibifolin works by inhibiting the overactivity of ADA (Adenosine deaminase)

What is ADA? How does It work?

ADA Adenosine deaminase or adenosine aminohydrolase is an important enzyme that converts adenosine to inosine during the metabolism of purine. This enzyme is present in almost all organisms 

(Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes). In human beings, their activity is higher in the lymphatic system. Apart from purine metabolism it also plays an important role in the homeostasis of the adenosine, metabolism of nucleic acid, and interaction with CD26 and adenosine receptors that are important to triggers immune responses and many other cellular activities. So its deficiency can cause severe combined immune deficiency (SCID). On the other hand, if this enzyme does an overactivity, it can cause inflammation and different types of cancer (like melanoma).  

Abnormalities due to change in ADA levels:

Due to Adenosine deaminase activity in proliferation and differentiation, it plays a very crucial role in the human body. Any change in its activity can lead to various diseases such as cancer. So it is very necessary to reduce its overactivity by an external agent. Natural Inhibitors are crucial for such a purpose. For example, Hibifolin works in this condition by inhibiting the overactivity of the ADA enzyme. Hence is an important and favorable anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferated, and immunosuppressive drug. 

Effectiveness of Hibifolin in Melanoma Treatment:

As mentioned above Hibifolin plays an effective role as an anti-proliferating agent therefore it can be a promising candidate to prevent malignant melanoma (skin cancer). With its bioactive properties, it can inhibit the growth of cancer cells that will help doctors to treat or destroyed cancer cells. In this way, it can prevent the development and progress of cancer in humans (like melanoma)

Conclusion – Final Words: Cancer and cancer-causing factors are increasing day by day. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer is also rapidly increasing over the globe due to various factors. One of these factors is changes in our atmosphere that allow UV radiation leading towards the development of skin cancer (or another type of cancerous mutation). Therefore to prevent the massive spread of this cancer researchers are analyzing things very keenly.  The research resulted in the identification of compounds from natural sources (plants) that can effectively treat cancer. Hibifolin is one of those compounds that is being studied excessively to cure cancer. So with proper research and development, we hope to get better results and an effective cancer treatment program to fight this deadliest disease.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.