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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2004, Issue 2, Pages 93-98
Review article

Novel Marine Compounds: Anticancer or Genotoxic?

Biological and Medical Research, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, PO Box 3354, MBC #03, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia

Received 27 July 2003; Revised 4 December 2003; Accepted 4 December 2003

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the past several decades, marine organisms have generously gifted to the pharmaceutical industries numerous naturally bioactive compounds with antiviral, antibacterial, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer potentials. But till date only few anticancer drugs (cytarabine, vidarabine) have been commercially developed from marine compounds while several others are currently in different clinical trials. Majority of these compounds were tested in the tumor xenograft models, however, lack of anticancer potential data in the chemical- and/or oncogene-induced pre-initiation animal carcinogenesis models might have cost some of the marine anticancer compounds an early exit from the clinical trials. This review critically discusses importance of preclinical evaluation, failure of human clinical trials with certain potential anticancer agents, the screening tests used, and choice of biomarkers.