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Open Access A Review for Antimicrobial Peptides with Anticancer Properties: Re-purposing of Potential Anticancer Agents

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC licence.

Abstract

In recent years, various research on cancer treatment has achieved significant progress. However, some of these treatments remain disputable because of the emergence and development of drug resistance, and the toxic side effects that were brought about by the lack of selectivity displayed by the treatments. Hence, there is considerable interest in a new class of anticancer molecules that is currently still under investigation termed the cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs are a group of pervasive components of the innate immunity which can be found throughout all classes of life. The small innate peptides cover a broad spectrum of antibacterial activities due to their electrostatic interactions with the negatively charged bacterial membrane. Compared with normal cells, cancer cells have increased proportions of negatively charged molecules, including phosphatidylserine, glycoproteins, and glycolipids, on the outer plasma membrane. This provides an opportunity for exploiting the interaction between AMPs and negatively charged cell membranes in developing unconventional anticancer strategies. Some AMPs may also be categorized into a group of potential anticancer agents called cationic anticancer peptides (ACPs) due to their relative selectivity in cell membrane penetration and lysis, which is similar to their interaction with bacterial membranes. Several examples of ACPs that are used in tumor therapy for their ability in penetrating or lysing tumor cell membrane will be reviewed in this paper, along with a discussion on the recent advances and challenges in the application of ACPs.

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Keywords: Anticancer activity; anticancer peptide; antimicrobial peptide; electrostatic interaction; membrane; nanosystems

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Breast Tumor Center, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, China 2: Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, China 3: CAS Key Laboratory of Quantitative Engineering Biology, Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055, China

Publication date: January 1, 2021

This article was made available online on November 18, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "A Review for Antimicrobial Peptides with Anticancer Properties: Re-purposing of Potential Anticancer Agents".

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