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CAS number 16561-29-8 YesY
PubChem 27924
ChemSpider 25977 N
KEGG C05151 N
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Image 3
Molecular formula C36H56O8
Molar mass 616.83 g mol−1
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
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Infobox references

12-O-Tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), also commonly known as tetradecanoylphorbol acetate, tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate, and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), is a diester of phorbol and a potent tumor promoter often employed in biomedical research to activate the signal transduction enzyme protein kinase C (PKC).[1][2][3] The effects of TPA on PKC result from its similarity to one of the natural activators of classic PKC isoforms, diacylglycerol. TPA is a small molecule drug.

In ROS biology, superoxide, but not hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical, peroxynitrite, was identified as the major ROS species induced by TPA/PMA but not by ionomycin in mouse macrophages.[4] Thus, TPA/PMA has been routinely used as an inducer for endogenous superoxide production. [5]

TPA is also being studied as a drug in the treatment of hematologic cancer[citation needed].

TPA has a specific use in cancer diagnostics as a B-cell specific mitogen in cytogenetic testing. To view the chromosomes, a cytogenetic test requires dividing cells. TPA is used to stimulate division of B-cells during cytogenetic diagnosis of B-cell cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.[6]

TPA is also commonly used together with ionomycin to stimulate T-cell activation, proliferation, and cytokine production, and is used in protocols for intracellular staining of these cytokines.[7]

TPA was first found in the croton plant, a shrub found in Southeast Asia, exposure to which provokes a poison ivy-like rash.[citation needed] It underwent a phase 1 clinical trial.


  1. ^ Castagna et al (1982). Journal of Biological Chemistry 257 (13): 7847–7851. 
  2. ^ Blumberg (1988). Cancer Research 48: 1–8. 
  3. ^ Niedel et al (1983). "Phorbol Diester Receptor Copurifies with Protein Kinase C". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 80: 36–40. doi:10.1073/pnas.80.1.36. 
  4. ^ Swindle (2002). The journal of Immunology 169: 5866–5873. .
  5. ^ Huang (2014). PLOS ONE (journal) 9: e96246. .
  6. ^ The AGT cytogenetics laboratory manual. 3rd ed. Barch, Margaret J., Knutsen, Turid., Spurbeck, Jack L., eds. 1997. Lippincott-Raven.
  7. ^ "Flow Cytometry Intracellular Staining Guide". eBioscience, Inc. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 

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