Anticancer Activity of Natural and Synthetic Acetylenic Lipids

Lipids. 2006 Oct;41(10):883-924. doi: 10.1007/s11745-006-5044-3.


This review is a comprehensive survey of acetylenic lipids and their derivatives, obtained from living organisms, that have anticancer activity. Acetylenic metabolites belong to a class of molecules containing triple bond(s). They are found in plants, fungi, microorganisms, and marine invertebrates. Although acetylenes are common as components of terrestrial plants, fungi, and bacteria, it is only within the last 30 years that biologically active polyacetylenes having unusual structural features have been reported from plants, cyanobacteria, algae, invertebrates, and other sources. Naturally occurring aquatic acetylenes are of particular interest since many of them display important biological activities and possess antitumor, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifouling, antifungal, pesticidal, phototoxic, HIV-inhibitory, and immunosuppressive properties. There is no doubt that they are of great interest, especially for the medicinal and/or pharmaceutical industries. This review presents structures and describes cytotoxic and anticancer activities only for more than 300 acetylenic lipids and their derivatives isolated from living organisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkynes
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Biological Products / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Fungi
  • Humans
  • Invertebrates
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Lipids / pharmacology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Plants


  • Alkynes
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Lipids