Recent advances in sampling and novel techniques in drug synthesis and isolation have promoted the discovery of anticancer agents from marine organisms to combat this major threat to public health worldwide. Bryozoans, which are filter-feeding, aquatic invertebrates often characterized by a calcified skeleton, are an excellent source of pharmacologically interesting compounds including well-known chemical classes such as alkaloids and polyketides. This review covers the literature for secondary metabolites isolated from marine cheilostome and ctenostome bryozoans that have shown potential as cancer drugs. Moreover, we highlight examples such as bryostatins, the most known class of marine-derived compounds from this animal phylum, which are advancing through anticancer clinical trials due to their low toxicity and antineoplastic activity. The bryozoan antitumor compounds discovered until now show a wide range of chemical diversity and biological activities. Therefore, more research focusing on the isolation of secondary metabolites with potential anticancer properties from bryozoans and other overlooked taxa covering wider geographic areas is needed for an efficient bioprospecting of natural products.
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