Natural cyclopeptides as anticancer agents in the last 20 years

Jia Nan Zhang, Yi Xuan Xia, Hong Jie Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Cyclopeptides or cyclic peptides are polypeptides formed by ring closing of terminal amino acids. A large number of natural cyclopeptides have been reported to be highly effective against different cancer cells, some of which are renowned for their clinical uses. Compared to linear peptides, cyclopeptides have absolute advantages of structural rigidity, biochemical stability, binding affinity as well as membrane permeability, which contribute greatly to their anticancer potency. Therefore, the discovery and development of natural cyclopeptides as anticancer agents remains attractive to academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies. Herein, we provide an overview of anticancer cyclopeptides that were discovered in the past 20 years. The present review mainly focuses on the anticancer efficacies, mechanisms of action and chemical structures of cyclopeptides with natural origins. Additionally, studies of the structure–activity relationship, total synthetic strategies as well as bioactivities of natural cyclopeptides are also included in this article. In conclusion, due to their characteristic structural features, natural cyclopeptides have great potential to be developed as anticancer agents. Indeed, they can also serve as excellent scaffolds for the synthesis of novel derivatives for combating cancerous pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3973
Number of pages58
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anticancer
  • Cyclopeptides
  • Natural products


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