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Marine Cyanobacteria Compounds with Anticancer Properties: A Review on the Implication of Apoptosis

Marine and Environmental Research Center—CIIMAR/CIMAR, Porto University, Rua dos Bragas, 289, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal
Laboratory of Pharmacology and Cellular Biocompatibility, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Porto University, Rua Dr. Manuel Pereira da Silva, 4200-393 Porto, Portugal
Centre of Health and Environmental Research—CISA, Superior School of Health Technology of Porto, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Rua Valente Perfeito, 322, 4400-330 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Faculty of Sciences, Porto University, Rua do Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology—IBMC, Porto University, Rua do Campo Alegre 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Mar. Drugs 2012, 10(10), 2181-2207;
Received: 6 August 2012 / Revised: 11 September 2012 / Accepted: 18 September 2012 / Published: 28 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds from Marine Microorganisms)
Marine cyanobacteria have been considered a rich source of secondary metabolites with potential biotechnological applications, namely in the pharmacological field. Chemically diverse compounds were found to induce cytoxicity, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities. The potential of marine cyanobacteria as anticancer agents has however been the most explored and, besides cytotoxicity in tumor cell lines, several compounds have emerged as templates for the development of new anticancer drugs. The mechanisms implicated in the cytotoxicity of marine cyanobacteria compounds in tumor cell lines are still largely overlooked but several studies point to an implication in apoptosis. This association has been related to several apoptotic indicators such as cell cycle arrest, mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative damage, alterations in caspase cascade, alterations in specific proteins levels and alterations in the membrane sodium dynamics. In the present paper a compilation of the described marine cyanobacterial compounds with potential anticancer properties is presented and a review on the implication of apoptosis as the mechanism of cell death is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer; apoptosis; marine cyanobacteria; natural compounds cancer; apoptosis; marine cyanobacteria; natural compounds
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Costa, M.; Costa-Rodrigues, J.; Fernandes, M.H.; Barros, P.; Vasconcelos, V.; Martins, R. Marine Cyanobacteria Compounds with Anticancer Properties: A Review on the Implication of Apoptosis. Mar. Drugs 2012, 10, 2181-2207.

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