Affiliation: School of Biological Science & Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, P.R. China.
Chemotherapy has been performed to treat metastatic cancers but with varying degrees of success. The optimal potential of chemotherapy has not been achieved yet. Numerous compounds cannot be further developed to produce potent drugs because these compounds exhibit poor druggability. To resolve this issue, researchers developed prodrugs in drug discovery because these drugs can be efficiently used. Many small-molecule prodrugs have been designed and synthesized as anticancer agents for several years, and great progress has been achieved. In this study, recently developed, efficient anticancer prodrugs were reviewed, particularly small molecule prodrugs. Moreover, small molecule anticancer prodrugs were summarized according to different types of chemical structures and properties.