Tumor cell membrane-targeting cationic antimicrobial peptides: novel insights into mechanisms of action and therapeutic prospects Academic Article uri icon


  • There is an ongoing need for effective and targeted cancer treatments that can overcome the detrimental side effects presented by current treatment options. One class of novel anticancer molecules with therapeutic potential currently under investigation are cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs). CAPs are small innate immunity peptides found ubiquitously throughout nature that are typically membrane-active against a wide range of pathogenic microbes. A number of CAPs can also target mammalian cells and often display selective activity towards tumor cells, making them attractive candidates as novel anticancer agents warranting further investigation. This current and comprehensive review describes key examples of naturally occurring membrane-targeting CAPs and their modified derivatives that have demonstrated anticancer activity, across multiple species of origin and structural subfamilies. In addition, we address recent advances made in the field and the ongoing challenges faced in translating experimental findings into clinically relevant treatments.

publication date

  • 2017