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Review Article

Pore-forming Peptides: A New Treatment Option for Cancer

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 23 ]


Zohreh Jahanafrooz and Ahad Mokhtarzadeh*   Pages 4078 - 4096 ( 19 )


Cancer, a challenging medical problem, affects millions of people around the world. Cancer cell resistance is one of the main drawbacks in the complete prosperity of even more sophisticated therapies. Pore-forming peptides (PFPs), a group of natural defense system proteins are used by nearly all living organisms as anti-bacterial and anti-- fungal agents, and could also be regarded as novel tumoricidal peptides. PFPs approach entails using soluble peptides by assembling them mainly on the target cell membrane and forming potential death-causing pores. Physical damage induction by natural PFPs or their synthetic derivatives could conquer the resistance mechanisms of tumor cells. Given that peptide drugs involve a significant proportion of the pharmaceutical market primarily because of easy synthesis and safety, evaluating this nature provided a model system as a group of anticancer peptides seems a valuable approach. Here, the mode of action of PFPs and their anticancer mechanism are highlighted, followed by addressing the anticancer studies using PFPs from different sources along with various strategies applied to obtain selective action of PFPs against cancer cells. Challenges and future perspectives of these promising bioactive molecules in cancer treatment are also provided.


Cancer therapy, pore-forming peptides, cell penetrating peptides, cell death, combination therapy, targeted delivery.


Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Maragheh, Maragheh, Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz

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