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Molecules 2011, 16(11), 9665-9696; doi:10.3390/molecules16119665

A Journey Under the Sea: The Quest for Marine Anti-Cancer Alkaloids

Received: 24 October 2011 / Accepted: 9 November 2011 / Published: 23 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alkaloids: Novel Therapeutic Perspectives)
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The alarming increase in the global cancer death toll has fueled the quest for new effective anti-tumor drugs thorough biological screening of both terrestrial and marine organisms. Several plant-derived alkaloids are leading drugs in the treatment of different types of cancer and many are now being tested in various phases of clinical trials. Recently, marine-derived alkaloids, isolated from aquatic fungi, cyanobacteria, sponges, algae, and tunicates, have been found to also exhibit various anti-cancer activities including anti-angiogenic, anti-proliferative, inhibition of topoisomerase activities and tubulin polymerization, and induction of apoptosis and cytotoxicity. Two tunicate-derived alkaloids, aplidin and trabectedin, offer promising drug profiles, and are currently in phase II clinical trials against several solid and hematologic tumors. This review sheds light on the rich array of anti-cancer alkaloids in the marine ecosystem and introduces the most investigated compounds and their mechanisms of action.
Keywords: alkaloid; marine; anti-cancer; drug; cell death alkaloid; marine; anti-cancer; drug; cell death
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Tohme, R.; Darwiche, N.; Gali-Muhtasib, H. A Journey Under the Sea: The Quest for Marine Anti-Cancer Alkaloids. Molecules 2011, 16, 9665-9696.

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