The development of prodrugs that are enzymatically activated into anticancer agents is a promising perspective in cancer therapy. Many nitrogen-containing quinoid heterocycles have been reported to show antitumor effect. The principal interest in these compounds lies on their potential to produce tumor-selective toxicity. Selectivity occurs by difference in oxygen tension between normal and tumor tissue and by levels of the required activating enzymes. In this review a summary of the most interesting heterocyclic quinones is given together with their biological property. SAR studies concerning the importance of some structural features will be described.
Keywords: Quinones, anticancer agents, tumor-selective toxicity, SAR, prodrugs, heterocycles
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