Dithiocarbamates are a class of metal-chelating compounds with various applications in medicine. They have
been used for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections, possible treatment of AIDS, and most recently cancer. Their
anti-tumor effects can in part be attributed to their ability to complex tumor cellular copper, leading to binding to and
inhibition of the proteasome and in turn initiating tumor cell-specific apoptosis. Current chemotherapeutic agents are
highly toxic and therefore their efficacy in the eradication of tumors is greatly limited. As a result many scientists have
joined the quest for novel targeted therapies in hopes of reducing toxicity while maximizing potency and proteasome
inhibition has become an attractive therapy in this regard. Here we discuss the origins, mechanism, and evolution of
dithiocarbamates as potent proteasome inhibitors and therefore anti-cancer agents.
Keywords: Cancer therapy, Ubiquitin-Proteasome System, Apoptosis, Metal Complexes, Disulfiram, Antabuse, Proteasome
inhibitors, UPS inhibitors.
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