Nano-based delivery systems for berberine: A modern anti-cancer herbal medicine

Hossein Majidzadeh, Mostafa Araj-Khodaei, Maryam Ghaffari, Mohammadali Torbati, Jafar Ezzati Nazhad Dolatabadi, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Berberine (BBR) is an isoquinoline alkaloid belonging to the structural class of protoberberines. BBR has been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. BBR inhibits cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis. However, BBR has significant drawbacks as a chemotherapeutic agent, including poor solubility, and induction of drug resistance, limiting its application in chemotherapy. Hence, combination therapy could not only deal with the problems related to single-agent chemotherapy but could also improve the therapeutic index of anticancer drugs. Co-administration of drugs may show pharmaceutical incompatibility due to conflicting physicochemical features. BBR can be used in nanoparticle-based single drug delivery, and in co-delivery systems designed to accommodate drugs and deliver them simultaneously into cancer cells. In this review, we will summarize the use of BBR, including BBR as a single chemotherapeutic agent and the combination of BBR with traditional anti-cancer drugs or herbal medicines in nanoparticle-based delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111188
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Berberine
  • Cancer therapy
  • Co-delivery systems
  • Herbal medicines
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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