Carbohydrates: Potential Sweet Tools Against Cancer

Author(s): Antonio Franconetti, Óscar López*, José G. Fernandez-Bolanos.

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 27 , Issue 8 , 2020


Cancer, one of the most devastating degenerative diseases nowadays, is one of the main targets in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical industry. Due to the significant increase in the incidence of cancer within world population, together with the complexity of such disease, featured with a multifactorial nature, access to new drugs targeting different biological targets connected to cancer is highly necessary.

Among the vast arsenal of compounds exhibiting antitumor activities, this review will cover the use of carbohydrate derivatives as privileged scaffolds. Their hydrophilic nature, together with their capacity of establishing selective interactions with biological receptors located on cell surface, involved in cell-to-cell communication processes, has allowed the development of an ample number of new templates useful in cancer treatment.

Their intrinsic water solubility has allowed their use as of pro-drug carriers for accessing more efficiently the pharmaceutical targets. The preparation of glycoconjugates in which the carbohydrate is tethered to a pharmacophore has also allowed a better permeation of the drug through cellular membranes, in which selective interactions with the carbohydrate motifs are involved. In this context, the design of multivalent structures (e.g. gold nanoparticles) has been demonstrated to enhance crucial interactions with biological receptors like lectins, glycoproteins that can be involved in cancer progression.

Moreover, the modification of the carbohydrate structural motif, by incorporation of metal complexes, or by replacing their endocyclic oxygen, or carbon atoms with heteroatoms has led to new antitumor agents.

Such diversity of sugar-based templates with relevant antitumor activity will be covered in this review.

Keywords: Cancer, carbohydrates, glycoconjugates, drug carriers, metal complexes, multivalency, cancer vaccines.

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Article Details

Year: 2020
Page: [1206 - 1242]
Pages: 37
DOI: 10.2174/0929867325666180719114150
Price: $65

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