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Podophyllotoxin, also known as podofilox, is a non-alkaloid lignan-like toxin. It is extracted from the roots of podophylls. Its ethanol solution and ointment are trade names for gentamicin and verrucile, respectively, and can be used as topical medicine for the treatment of condyloma acuminatum caused by human papillomavirus. Podophyllotoxin and its synthetic derivatives such as etoposide and teniposide show a wide range of options for medical applications such as antiviral and antineoplastic agents. Its anticancer activity has been studied to a large extent and used in the chemotherapy of lung cancer, lymphomas and reproductive tumors.
Historically, podophyllin resin was extracted to use as a kind of medicine from podophylls and Podophyllum hexandrum. It is included in the WHO list of essential medicines and is one of the most important medicines required for basic health care systems. It is a non-alkaloid toxin lignan extracted from the roots and rhizomes of Podophyllum species. A less refined form known as podophyllum resin is also available, but has greater side effects. Podophyllotoxin was isolated in 1880.
In the United Kingdom the price for the NHS of 3.5 ml of medication is about 14.49 pounds. In the United States the price of a course of treatment is more than 200 USD. It is present at concentrations of 0.3 to 1.0% by mass in the rhizome of American Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). Another common source of podophyllotoxin is the rhizomes of Sinopodophyllum hexandrum Royle (Berberidaceae). It is biosynthesized from two molecules of coniferyl alcohol by phenolic oxidative coupling and a series of oxidations, reductions and methylations.