Affiliation: Department of Biology, Syracuse University, 107 College Place, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA.
Although the amount of progress cancer therapy has made in recent years is commendable, considerable limitations still remain. Most agents preferentially target rapidly proliferating cells, thereby destroying tumorigenic growths. Unfortunately, there are many labile cells in the patient that are also rapidly dividing, ultimately perpetuating significant side effects, including immunosuppression. Cytochalasins are microfilament-directed agents most commonly known for their use in basic research to understand cytoskeletal mechanisms. However, such agents also exhibit profound anticancer activity, as indicated by numerous in vitro and in vivo studies. Cytochalasins appear to preferentially damage malignant cells, as shown by their minimal effects on normal epithelial and immune cells. Further, cytochalasins influence the end stages of mitosis, suggesting that such agents could be combined with microtubule-directed agents to elicit a profound synergistic effect on malignant cells. Therefore, it is likely that cytochalasins could be used to supplement current chemotherapeutic measures to improve efficacy rates, as well as decrease the prevalence of drug resistance in the clinical setting.