Bladderwrack extract inhibits LDHA a potential drug target for pancreatic cancer

Bladderwrack (fucus vesiculosus) (figure 1) is a seaweed which was the original source of iodine [1]. A recent study has found that an extract of bladderwrack significantly inhibits the enzyme LDHA [2]. LDHA plays a key role in cancer metabolism and in pancreatic cancer it is often overexpressed [3, 4] and is required for pancreatic cancer cell tumourigenicity in mouse xenograft models [3].

Figure 1: Bladderwrack. Photo taken by Hans Kylberg. No changes were made. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

LDHA inhibition is associated with the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the apoptosis of cancer cells [5]. Interestingly lysosomal cell death (LCD) is also promoted by ROS and the possibility that bladderwrack extract could promote LCD should be investigated. There is the possibility that the extract could synergise with drugs that promote LCD such as chloroquine [6]. It will of course be important to isolate the precise compound that inhibits LDHA from the bladderwrack extract.


  1. Fucus Vesiculosus’. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 8 February 2016.
  2. Deiab, S., E. Mazzio, S. Messeha, N. Mack, and K. F. A. Soliman. ‘High-Throughput Screening to Identify Plant Derived Human LDH-A Inhibitors’. European Journal of Medicinal Plants 3, no. 4 (2013): 603.
  3. Rong, Yefei, Wenchuan Wu, Xiaoling Ni, Tiantao Kuang, Dayong Jin, Dansong Wang, and Wenhui Lou. ‘Lactate Dehydrogenase A Is Overexpressed in Pancreatic Cancer and Promotes the Growth of Pancreatic Cancer Cells’. Tumour Biology: The Journal of the International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine 34, no. 3 (June 2013): 1523–30. doi:10.1007/s13277-013-0679-1.
  4. Pan, Sheng, Ru Chen, Tyler Stevens, Mary P. Bronner, Damon May, Yasuko Tamura, Martin W. McIntosh, and Teresa A. Brentnall. ‘Proteomics Portrait of Archival Lesions of Chronic Pancreatitis’. Edited by Jörg D. Hoheisel. PLoS ONE 6, no. 11 (23 November 2011): e27574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027574.
  5. Valvona, Cara J., Helen L. Fillmore, Peter B. Nunn, and Geoffrey J. Pilkington. ‘The Regulation and Function of Lactate Dehydrogenase A: Therapeutic Potential in Brain Tumor: Regulation and Function of Lactate Dehydrogenase A’. Brain Pathology 26, no. 1 (January 2016): 3–17. doi:10.1111/bpa.12299.
  6. King, M A, I G Ganley, and V Flemington. ‘Inhibition of Cholesterol Metabolism Underlies Synergy between mTOR Pathway Inhibition and Chloroquine in Bladder Cancer Cells’. Oncogene, 8 February 2016. doi:10.1038/onc.2015.511.

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