Potential Therapeutic Applications of C-Phycocyanin

Curr Drug Metab. 2019;20(12):967-976. doi: 10.2174/1389200220666191127110857.


Background: Cancer and other disorders such as inflammation, autoimmune diseases and diabetes are the major health problems observed all over the world. Therefore, identifying a therapeutic target molecule for the treatment of these diseases is urgently needed to benefit public health. C-Phycocyanin (C-PC) is an important light yielding pigment intermittently systematized in the cyanobacterial species along with other algal species. It has numerous applications in the field of biotechnology and drug industry and also possesses antioxidant, anticancer, antiinflammatory, enhanced immune function, including liver and kidney protection properties. The molecular mechanism of action of C-PC for its anticancer activity could be the blockage of cell cycle progression, inducing apoptosis and autophagy in cancer cells.

Objectives: The current review summarizes an update on therapeutic applications of C-PC, its mechanism of action and mainly focuses on the recent development in the field of C-PC as a drug that exhibits beneficial effects against various human diseases including cancer and inflammation.

Conclusion: The data from various studies suggest the therapeutic applications of C-PC such as anti-cancer activity, anti-inflammation, anti-angiogenic activity and healing capacity of certain autoimmune disorders. Mechanism of action of C-PC for its anticancer activity is the blockage of cell cycle progression, inducing apoptosis and autophagy in cancer cells. The future perspective of C-PC is to identify and define the molecular mechanism of its anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, which would shed light on our knowledge on therapeutic applications of C-PC and may contribute significant benefits to global public health.

Keywords: C-Phycocyanin; cancer; cell death; inflammation; public health; therapeutic agent..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Humans
  • Phycobilisomes
  • Phycocyanin / biosynthesis
  • Phycocyanin / chemistry
  • Phycocyanin / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phycobilisomes
  • Phycocyanin