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Review

Heterocyclic Anticancer Compounds: Recent Advances and the Paradigm Shift towards the Use of Nanomedicine’s Tool Box

1
UCIBIO, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
2
Centro de Química Estrutural, Complexo 1, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Richard A. Bunce
Molecules 2015, 20(9), 16852-16891; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules200916852
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 8 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 16 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Heterocyclic Compounds)
The majority of heterocycle compounds and typically common heterocycle fragments present in most pharmaceuticals currently marketed, alongside with their intrinsic versatility and unique physicochemical properties, have poised them as true cornerstones of medicinal chemistry. Apart from the already marketed drugs, there are many other being investigated for their promising activity against several malignancies. In particular, anticancer research has been capitalizing on the intrinsic versatility and dynamic core scaffold of these compounds. Nevertheless, as for any other promising anticancer drugs, heterocyclic compounds do not come without shortcomings. In this review, we provide for a concise overview of heterocyclic active compounds and families and their main applications in medicine. We shall focus on those suitable for cancer therapy while simultaneously addressing main biochemical modes of action, biological targets, structure-activity relationships as well as intrinsic limitation issues in the use of these compounds. Finally, considering the advent of nanotechnology for effective selective targeting of drugs, we shall discuss fundamental aspects and considerations on nanovectorization of such compounds that may improve pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties of heterocycles. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer therapy; heterocyclic compounds; oxygen and nitrogen-based heterocycles; drug delivery; nanomedicine cancer therapy; heterocyclic compounds; oxygen and nitrogen-based heterocycles; drug delivery; nanomedicine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martins, P.; Jesus, J.; Santos, S.; Raposo, L.R.; Roma-Rodrigues, C.; Baptista, P.V.; Fernandes, A.R. Heterocyclic Anticancer Compounds: Recent Advances and the Paradigm Shift towards the Use of Nanomedicine’s Tool Box. Molecules 2015, 20, 16852-16891. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules200916852

AMA Style

Martins P, Jesus J, Santos S, Raposo LR, Roma-Rodrigues C, Baptista PV, Fernandes AR. Heterocyclic Anticancer Compounds: Recent Advances and the Paradigm Shift towards the Use of Nanomedicine’s Tool Box. Molecules. 2015; 20(9):16852-16891. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules200916852

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martins, Pedro, João Jesus, Sofia Santos, Luis R. Raposo, Catarina Roma-Rodrigues, Pedro V. Baptista, and Alexandra R. Fernandes 2015. "Heterocyclic Anticancer Compounds: Recent Advances and the Paradigm Shift towards the Use of Nanomedicine’s Tool Box" Molecules 20, no. 9: 16852-16891. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules200916852

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