Marine natural products: bryostatins in preclinical and clinical studies

Pharm Biol. 2014 Feb;52(2):237-42. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2013.804100. Epub 2013 Sep 13.


Context: Bryostatins represent an important group of pharmaceutically promising substances. These compounds are produced by commensal microorganisms naturally occurring in marine invertebrates, mainly in bryozoans. The most frequently investigated substance is bryostatin-1, which is a highly oxygenated macrolide with a polyacetate backbone.

Objective: The aim of this work was to summarize documented preclinical and clinical effects of bryostatin-class compounds.

Methods: A literature search was made of Medline and Web of Science databases in 2012.

Results and conclusion: Our review showed that bryostatins are potent agonists of protein kinase C. In addition to this, their significant antineoplastic activity against several tumor types has also been established and described. Bryostatin's anticancer activity has been proved against various cancer types. Moreover, significant results have been achieved by using bryostatin-1 in combination with other therapies, including combination with vaccine testing. Concerning other important properties that bryostatins possess, their ability to sensitize some resistant cells to chemotherapy agents, or immunoactivity and further stimulating growth of new neural connections, and enhancing effect on long-term memory are worth mentioning. In particular, some new bryostatin analogs could represent potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer and other diseases in future.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aquatic Organisms / metabolism
  • Biological Products / chemistry*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Bryostatins / chemistry
  • Bryostatins / pharmacology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Invertebrates / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein Kinase C / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Bryostatins
  • Protein Kinase C