Affiliation: Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban-4000, South Africa.
There is an ever-increasing need for the development of new drugs with safe and improved profile for the treatment of cancer. From time immemorial, nature has been considered as an abundant source of medicinal compounds having therapeutic properties. An enormous chemical diversity is present in thousands and millions of species of microorganisms, marine organisms, plants and animals that can act as potential therapeutic agents against various types of human cancer. Literature survey revealed that many alkaloids isolated from marine cyanobacteria, fungi, algae, sponges and tunicates displayed a wide range of anticancer properties like antiproliferative, antiangiogenic, induction of apoptosis, promoting cytotoxicity by inhibition of topoisomerase activities and tubulin polymerization. In this context, bastadins derived from tyrosine-based alkaloids have been reported as one the important class of anticancer agents. In particular bastadin 6 (24), seems to be a promising natural lead compound for the development of marine natural product-based anticancer therapeutic agents. This review mainly highlights the pharmacologically active scaffolds like purine, tyrosine and tryptophan containing marine alkaloids that exhibit biological activity, including anti-angiogenesis, cytotoxicity and anticancer activity.