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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(11), 8027-8051;

Oncolytic Activities of Host Defense Peptides

Laboratory for Molecular Oncology and Wound Healing, Department of Plastic Surgery, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum 44789, Germany
Department of Biological Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 September 2011 / Accepted: 7 November 2011 / Published: 16 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
Full-Text   |   PDF [444 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]


Cancer continues to be a leading source of morbidity and mortality worldwide in spite of progress in oncolytic therapies. In addition, the incidence of cancers affecting the breast, kidney, prostate and skin among others continue to rise. Chemotherapeutic drugs are widely used in cancer treatment but have the serious drawback of nonspecific toxicity because these agents target any rapidly dividing cell without discriminating between healthy and malignant cells. In addition, many neoplasms eventually become resistant to conventional chemotherapy due to selection for multidrug-resistant variants. The limitations associated with existing chemotherapeutic drugs have stimulated the search for new oncolytic therapies. Host defense peptides (HDPs) may represent a novel family of oncolytic agents that can avoid the shortcomings of conventional chemotherapy because they exhibit selective cytotoxicity against a broad spectrum of malignant human cells, including multi-drug-resistant neoplastic cells. Oncolytic activity by HDPs is usually via necrosis due to cell membrane lysis, but some HDPs can trigger apoptosis in cancer cells via mitochondrial membrane disruption. In addition, certain HDPs are anti-angiogenic which may inhibit cancer progression. This paper reviews oncolytic HDP studies in order to address the suitability of selected HDPs as oncolytic therapies. View Full-Text
Keywords: molecularly targeted therapies; carcinoma; sarcoma; tumor molecularly targeted therapies; carcinoma; sarcoma; tumor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Al-Benna, S.; Shai, Y.; Jacobsen, F.; Steinstraesser, L. Oncolytic Activities of Host Defense Peptides. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 8027-8051.

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