Importance and application of anti-cancer peptides in cancer therapy

Mohammad bagher Naser,1,* Navid musazadeh ,2 Muhammad javad muhammadi,3 Seyed sadegh eslami,4 Hamed rezaei,5

1. Department of Medical, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
2. Department of Medical Biotechnology, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.
3. Student Research Center, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran.
4. Department of Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Allied Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5. Department of Clinical Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran



Introduction cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, which millions of people die every year from the disease. in 2013, 14.9 million types of cancer were caused by 8.2 million deaths (1,2). traditional chemotherapy drugs have a serious defect, such as non-specific toxicity and side effects, and drug resistance of cancer cells against current medications lead to that we looking for a new method to treatment (3,4). for example, chemotherapy resistance in metastasis of breast cancer shows that chemotherapy agents are not effective in controlling breast cancer (5). peptides are a linear short chain of amino acids with a length of less than 50 amino acids (6). anticancer peptides (acps) have been used as anti-cancer drugs because of features such as: small size, high activity and low immunogenicity (7). acps are naturally cationic so that they interact with the anionic cell membrane components of the cancer cells and selectively destroy the cancerous cells. in other words, there is electrostatic attraction between the negatively charged cancer cell membrane with positively charged anticancer peptides (8,9) therapeutic peptides are composed of natural amino acids that they have lower side effects (10). classification of therapeutic peptides in three groups based on boohaker and his colleagues research (11): a. antimicrobial/pore-forming b. cell penetrating peptides c. targeting peptides the advantages of peptides as drug are: low accumulation in tissues, high potency, and high selectivity and disadvantages of peptides are: susceptibility to proteases, short-half-life, poor metabolic stability, high production cost, and rapid clearance (12,10). in designing and modifying acps to improve their action we can use methods such as: amino acid substitution, cyclization (7), hybridization, fragementization. in the designing of acps, we also use in silico methods. (13)


In this review article we searched the anticancer peptides and therapeutic peptides keywords in data base pubmed, google scholar, science direct and select suitable articles.


In a study by suttmann and colleagues in 2008, showed that two peptides of cecropin a, b in bladder cancer cells were anti-proliferative and cytotoxic selective (14). another study conducted by hilchie and colleagues in 2011 showed for the first time that the pleurocidin-family caps nrc-03 and nrc-07 are cytotoxic for breast cancer cell lines (15). in 2006, lehmann and colleagues investigated the antitumor activity of the maganon2 antimicrobial peptide against bladder cancer cell lines and showed that maganin2 inhibited the cellular proliferation of bladder cancer cells (16). another study conducted by valero and colleagues in 2011 showed that peptide α5-α6 bax peptide acts as a potent inducer of apoptosis in cancer cells (17). in a research conducted by chen and colleagues, a new antimicrobial peptide called ranatuerin-2plx. suggested by them which had therapeutic potential and inhibition of the proliferation of cancer cells (18). in a study by zhu and colleagues in 2013, they showed that anoplin is antimicrobial peptide caused necrosis in mel cancer cells (19). the discovery of a new generation of peptide-based vaccines is another feature of the development of therapeutic peptides (20)


According to the studies we can say anticancer peptides are more important than older anticancer drugs and introduced as a novel method in treatment of cancer. now some of therapeutic peptides are in the preclinical and clinical trial phase.


anti-cancer peptides,cancer therapy, therapeutic peptides