Progress toward the development of noscapine and derivatives as anticancer agents

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Many nitrogen-moiety containing alkaloids derived from plant origins are bioactive and play a significant role in human health and emerging medicine. Noscapine, a phthalideisoquinoline alkaloid derived from Papaver somniferum, has been used as a cough suppressant since the mid 1950s, illustrating a good safety profile. Noscapine has since been discovered to arrest cells at mitosis, albeit with moderately weak activity. Immunofluorescence staining of microtubules after 24 h of noscapine exposure at 20 μM elucidated chromosomal abnormalities and the inability of chromosomes to complete congression to the equatorial plane for proper mitotic separation (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 1998, 95, 1601-1606). A number of noscapine analogues possessing various modifications have been described within the literature and have shown significantly improved antiprolific profiles for a large variety of cancer cell lines. Several semisynthetic antimitotic alkaloids are emerging as possible candidates as novel anticancer therapies. This perspective discusses the advancing understanding of noscapine and related analogues in the fight against malignant disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5699-5727
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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