Fucoidan and cancer: a multifunctional molecule with anti-tumor potential.
Mar Drugs. 2015 Apr ;13(4):2327-46. Epub 2015 Apr 14. PMID: 25874926
There is a wide variety of cancer types yet, all share some common cellular and molecular behaviors. Most of the chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment are designed to target common deregulated mechanisms within cancer cells. Many healthy tissues are also affected by the cytotoxic effects of these chemical agents. Fucoidan, a natural component of brown seaweed, has anti-cancer activity against various cancer types by targeting key apoptotic molecules. It also has beneficial effects as it can protect against toxicity associated with chemotherapeutic agents and radiation. Thus the synergistic effect of fucoidan with current anti-cancer agents is of considerable interest. This review discusses the mechanisms by which fucoidan retards tumor development, eradicates tumor cells and synergizes with anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Challenges to the development of fucoidan as an anti-cancer agent will also be discussed.