Cationic antimicrobial peptides as novel cytotoxic agents for cancer treatment

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2006 Aug;15(8):933-46. doi: 10.1517/13543784.15.8.933.

Abstract

Cancer treatment by conventional chemotherapy is hindered by toxic side effects and the frequent development of multi-drug resistance by cancer cells. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) are a promising new class of natural-source drugs that may avoid the shortcomings of conventional chemotherapy because certain CAPs exhibit selective cytotoxicity against a broad spectrum of human cancer cells, including neoplastic cells that have acquired a multi-drug-resistant phenotype. Tumour cell killing by CAPs is usually by a cell membrane-lytic effect, although some CAPs can trigger apoptosis in cancer cells via mitochondrial membrane disruption. Furthermore, certain CAPs are potent inhibitors of blood vessel development (angiogenesis) that is associated with tumour progression. This article reviews the mechanisms by which CAPs exert anticancer activity and discusses the potential application of selected CAPs as therapeutic agents for the treatment of human cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / chemistry
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival
  • Defensins / chemistry
  • Defensins / pharmacology
  • Defensins / therapeutic use
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / chemistry
  • Lactoferrin / pharmacology
  • Lactoferrin / therapeutic use
  • Magainins
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / drug effects*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Xenopus Proteins / chemistry
  • Xenopus Proteins / pharmacology
  • Xenopus Proteins / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BMAP-28
  • Defensins
  • Drug Carriers
  • Magainins
  • Proteins
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • magainin 2 peptide, Xenopus
  • cecropin A
  • Lactoferrin