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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Opioid Growth Factor and its Derivatives as Potential Non-toxic Multifunctional Anticancer and Analgesic Compounds

Author(s): Justyna Budka, Szymon Kowalski, Monika Chylinska, Krystyna Dzierzbicka and Iwona Inkielewicz-Stepniak*

Volume 28 , Issue 4 , 2021

Published on: 04 March, 2020

Page: [673 - 686] Pages: 14

DOI: 10.2174/0929867327666200304122406

Price: $65


Despite significant research progress on the pathogenesis, molecular biology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer, its morbidity and mortality are still high around the world. The emerging resistance of cancer cells to anticancer drugs remains still a significant problem in oncology today. Furthermore, an important challenge is the inability of anticancer drugs to selectively target tumor cells thus sparing healthy cells.

One of the new potential options for efficient and safe therapy can be provided by opioid growth factor (OGF), chemically termed Met-enkephalin. It is an endogenous pentapeptide (Tyr-Gly-Gly-Phe-Met) with antitumor, analgesic, and immune-boosting properties. Clinical trials have demonstrated that OGF therapy alone, as well as in combination with standard chemotherapies, is a safe, non-toxic anticancer agent that reduces tumor size.

In this paper, we review the structure-activity relationship of OGF and its analogues. We highlight also OGF derivatives with analgesic, immunomodulatory activity and the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and may be used as safe agents enhancing chemotherapy efficacy and improving quality of life in cancer patients.

The reviewed papers indicate that Met-enkephalin and its analogues are interesting candidates for the development of novel, non-toxic, and endowed with an analgesic activity anticancer drugs. More preclinical and clinical studies are needed to explore these opportunities.

Keywords: Opioid growth factor, met-enkephalin, analogue, anticancer therapy, multifunctional compound, targeted therapy.

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