Background: Every year we encounter more projects indicating the promising anticancer activity of vanadium molecules
against different types of cancer cells. The new generation of metal-based drugs are targeting the energy supplies of the cell through ROS
generation leading them to cell arrest and apoptosis. The relatively low toxicity of vanadium metal, the different oxidation states that it
can be occurred and in general, the lipophilicity of transition metals, gave attention to vanadium after the exhausted research in platinumbased drugs.
Herein, we are reviewing the latest advances in apoptotic activity of vanadium complex molecules and trying to reveal the structure to
action relationship. Future perspectives of vanadium anticancer drugs also discussed.
Methods: Data were collected from Web of Science, Scopus, Pubmed, through searching of these keywords: “apoptosis”, “anticancer
drugs”, “vanadium complexes”, “synthesis” and “cell arrest”.
Results: A good amount of vanadium complexes gave promising results over the last years showing that a more careful approach of a
ligand design, could give a rise to the next generation of vanadium drugs.
Conclusion: The low toxicity of vanadium ion in combination with its V(IV) species selectivity, gives to the vanadium, a head starts
against other transition metal complexes.