Novel molecules that interact with microtubules and have functional activity similar to Taxol

Drug Discov Today. 2001 Nov 15;6(22):1153-1164. doi: 10.1016/s1359-6446(01)02038-4.


Taxol is an antitumor drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of ovarian, breast and non-small-cell lung carcinomas. Originally isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia, it was the first natural product described that stabilized microtubules. In the past five years, a group of novel natural products, including the epothilones, discodermolide, eleutherobin, sarcodictyins and the laulimalides, all of which have biological activities similar to those of Taxol, has been discovered. In this review, we discuss each of these novel microtubule-stabilizing agents and the search for a common pharmacophore among them, taking into consideration recent advances in our understanding of the taxanes and tubulin.