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, targets 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 occur and in general, the lipophilicity of transition metals, gave attention to vanadium after the exhausting research in platinum-based drugs. Herein, the latest advances in the apoptotic activity of vanadium complex molecules have been reviewed and revealed the structure to action relationship. Future perspectives of vanadium anticancer drugs are 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 past few years, showing that a more careful approach of a ligand design could give rise to the next generation of vanadium drugs.
Conclusion: The low toxicity of vanadium ion in combination with its V(IV) species selectivity gives the vanadium a head starts against other transition metal complexes.