Organic selenium compounds as potential chemotherapeutic agents for improved cancer treatment

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Selenium(Se)-containing compounds have attracted a growing interest as anticancer agents over recent decades, with mounting reports demonstrating their high efficacy and selectivity against cancer cells. Typically, Se compounds exert their cytotoxic effects by acting as pro-oxidants that alter cellular redox homeostasis. However, the precise intracellular targets, signalling pathways affected and mechanisms of cell death engaged following treatment vary with the chemical properties of the selenocompound and its metabolites, as well as the cancer model that is used. Naturally occurring organic Se compounds, besides encompassing a significant antitumor activity with an apparent ability to prevent metastasis, also seem to have fewer side effects and less systemic effects as reported for many inorganic Se compounds. On this basis, many novel organoselenium compounds have also been synthesized and examined as potential chemotherapeutic agents. This review aims to summarize the most well studied natural and synthetic organoselenium compounds and provide the most recent developments in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie their potential anticancer effects.




Gandin, V., Khalkar, P., Braude, J., & Fernandes, A. P. (2018, November 1). Organic selenium compounds as potential chemotherapeutic agents for improved cancer treatment. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Elsevier Inc.

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