Table 2: Anticancer mechanism of action of chitosan in some potential target cells.

CompoundTarget cellsMechanism of actionTestOutcomeYearRef.

ChitosanMDA-MB-231Permeation enhancement, lowering of MMP9 activityIn vitro and in vivoAntimetastatic effect2013 
2009 
[4] 
[78] 
T24 urinary bladder cell linesDisruption of cell membrane, necrosisIn vitroAntiproliferative effect2013 
2001
[80] 
[94]

Chitosan nano particlesHuman hepato carcinomaNano particles mediated antiangiogenic action and impairment of VEGFR2 levels.In vitroAntiangiogenic effect2010 
2015
[17] 
[45]
BEL7402, HT-29Cell necrosis, decrease in MMP, induction of lipid peroxidation, enhanced permeation and retention (EPR) effectIn vitroInhibition of cellular proliferation2012 
2007 
2017 
2017
[81] 
[95] 
[96] 
[97]

MIF loaded chitosan nano particlesSolid tumorSustained release and enhancement of bioavailability of drugIn vivoDrug accumulation and growth inhibition2016[79]

Oligochitosan, (N-Acetyl) chitohexaoseSarcoma 180, HT- 29, HepG2Immunoenhancement through increase in activity of NK cells, T cells, killer lymphocytes and cytokins.In vivo and in vitroSuppression of tumor growth2004 
2013 
2012 
2009
[19] 
[80] 
[81] 
[82]

LMWC/COSSCC Ca9- 22Cellular apoptosis, activation of caspase-3 and caspase-8, electrostatic interaction and endocytosisIn vitroInhibition of tumor growth and proliferation2014 
2004 
2010 
2004
[13] 
[92] 
[93] 
[16]
SCC Ca9-22Cytokine signaling cell cycle arrest, ROS activationIn vitrocell senescence, inhibition of cell growth and proliferation2014 
2003 
2010
[13] 
[98] 
[99]
LLC cellsInhibition of MMP-9In vitroCell death and antiproliferation2009[82]
HT-29Increased activity of enzymes QR, GST and GSH.In vitroIncrease in chemo preventive activity2007[105]
Inhibition of NO and iNOSIn vitroDecrease in tumor cells proliferation2007[106]
Antiangiogenesis by heparanase inhibitionIn vitroInhibition of tumor growth2009[107]
Cytokines mediated MMP-2 reductionIn vitroReduction in tumor size2007[106]
1999[108]
HUVECsInhibitory effect on LPS-induced IL-8 expression, LPS-induced HUVECs migration and U937 monocyte adhesion to HUVECsIn vitroTumor growth inhibition2011[113]
EAT cellsApoptosis through nucleosomal DNA fragmentationIn vivoDecrease in volume of ascites2005 
2004 
2002
[18] 
[117] 
[118]