Cancer is the leading cause of death globally and finding new therapeutic agents for cancer treatment remains a major challenge in the pursuit for a cure. This paper presents an overview on microalgae with anti-cancer activities. Microalgae are eukaryotic unicellular plants that contribute up to 40% of global primary productivity. They are excellent sources of pigments, lipids, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, polysaccharides, vitamins and other fine chemicals, and there is an increasing demand for their use as nutraceuticals and food supplements. Some microalgae are also reported as having anti-cancer activity. In this review, we report the microalgal species that have shown anti-cancer properties, the cancer cell lines affected by algae and the concentrations of compounds/extracts tested to induce arrest of cell growth. We also report the mediums used for growing microalgae that showed anti-cancer activity and compare the bioactivity of these microalgae with marine anticancer drugs already on the market and in phase III clinical trials. Finally, we discuss why some microalgae can be promising sources of anti-cancer compounds for future development.
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