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Issue 26, 2015
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Understanding cancer and the anticancer activities of naphthoquinones – a review

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Abstract

The non-communicable disease, cancer, is one of the major causes of death across the world and is forecast to increase by 75% to reach close to 25 million cases over the next two decades. Radiotherapy and surgical approaches have been unsuccessful in controlling the incidence of most cancers. The development of chemotherapeutic strategies involving novel small molecule antitumour agents has therefore been the focus area of cancer chemotherapy for several decades as another strategy to combat and control the incidence of cancer. Many natural products as well as several synthetic drugs have a naphthoquinone chromophore. The anticancer activities of naphthoquinones have been the focus of much research to discover novel anticancer agents. The naturally occurring 1,2-naphthoquinone-based compound, β-lapachone (ARQ 761), is currently being assessed for its anti-tumour activity against advanced solid tumours. This review describes the most recent applications of naphthoquinones and their derivatives in cancer drug discovery. The biology relevant to the design of novel naphthoquinone anticancer agents is also discussed. Furthermore, the discussion of the biology will contribute to understanding cancer as well as the applications of naphthoquinones as anticancer agents.

Graphical abstract: Understanding cancer and the anticancer activities of naphthoquinones – a review

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Oct 2014, accepted on 05 Feb 2015 and first published on 05 Feb 2015


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA13547D
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: RSC Adv., 2015,5, 20309-20338
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    Understanding cancer and the anticancer activities of naphthoquinones – a review

    K. W. Wellington, RSC Adv., 2015, 5, 20309
    DOI: 10.1039/C4RA13547D

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