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1071-23-4 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:17553 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL146972 YesY
ChemSpider 990 YesY
DrugBank DB01738 N
MeSH phosphorylethanolamine
PubChem 1015
Molar mass 141.063 g/mol
Appearance white powder
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N verify (what is YesYN ?)
Infobox references

Phosphorylethanolamine or phosphoethanolamine is an ethanolamine derivative that is used to construct two different categories of phospholipids. One category termed a glycerophospholipid and the other a sphingomyelin, or more specifically within the sphingomyelin class, a sphingophospholipid. This chemical possesses two pKa[clarification needed] values: 5.61 and 10.39.[1]


Research is being conducted with Ehrlich ascites tumor cells in vitro to see if phosphoethanolamine could be used in cancer treatment.[2]

There has been ongoing controversy and litigation in Brazil with regard to its use as a cancer treatment prior to approval by the National Health Surveillance Agency. In September 2015, administrators at the University of São Paulo attempted to prevent chemists at the São Carlos campus from continuing to unofficially manufacture, distribute, and promote the drug to cancer patients since it had not been tested in humans yet. In October 2015, several courts in Brazil ruled in favor of plaintiffs who wanted the right to try the compound. However, a state court overturned the lower courts' decision a month later. Jailson Bittencourt de Andrade, secretary for Brazil’s science and technology ministry, said the ministry plans to fund further research on the compound, but that it will be years before a determination can be made about phosphoethanolamine's safety and efficacy in humans.[3][4]

On April 14, 2016, a law passed in Brazil allowing the use of synthetic phosphoethanolamine for cancer treatment.[5] However, shortly after, the country's Supreme Court suspended the law.[6]


  1. ^ Myller, AT et al. 2010 Preparation of aminofunctionalized TiO2 surfaces by binding of organophosphates; Applied Surface Science 257,1616
  2. ^ Ferreira, Adilson Kleber; Meneguelo, Renato; Pereira, Alexandre; Mendonça Filho, Otaviano R.; Chierice, Gilberto Orivaldo; Maria, Durvanei Augusto (2012-01-01). "Anticancer effects of synthetic phosphoethanolamine on Ehrlich ascites tumor: an experimental study". Anticancer Research 32 (1): 95–104. ISSN 1791-7530. PMID 22213293. 
  3. ^ Heidi Ledford (24 November 2015). "Brazilian courts tussle over unproven cancer treatment". Nature. doi:10.1038/527420a. 
  4. ^ "Brazil bill would legalize renegade cancer pill". Science. doi:10.1126/science.352.6281.18. 
  5. ^ Herton Escobar (14 April 2016). "Brazil president signs law legalizing renegade cancer pill". doi:10.1126/science.aaf4126. 
  6. ^ "Human tests start on controversial Brazil cancer pill". 25 July 2016. 

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