Recent advances in microbial toxin-related strategies to combat cancer

Prabodh Chander Sharma*, Diksha Sharma, Archana Sharma, Madhulika Bhagat, Monika Ola, Vijay Kumar Thakur, Jitender Kumar Bhardwaj, Ramesh K. Goyal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


It is a major concern to treat cancer successfully, due to the distinctive pathophysiology of cancer cells and the gradual manifestation of resistance. Specific action, adverse effects and development of resistance has prompted the urgent requirement of exploring alternative anti-tumour treatment therapies. The naturally derived microbial toxins as a therapy against cancer cells are a promisingly new dimension. Various important microbial toxins such as Diphtheria toxin, Vibrio cholera toxin, Aflatoxin, Patulin, Cryptophycin-55, Chlorella are derived from several bacterial, fungal and algal species. These agents act on different biotargets such as inhibition of protein synthesis, reduction in cell growth, regulation of cell cycle and many cellular processes. Bacterial toxins produce actions primarily by targeting protein moieties and some immunomodulation and few acts through DNA. Fungal toxins appear to have more DNA damaging activity and affect the cell cycle. Algal toxins produce alteration in mitochondrial phosphorylation. In conclusion, microbial toxins and their metabolites appear to have a great potential to provide a promising option for the treatment and management to combat cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-768
Number of pages16
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue numberPt 3
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPrint publication - Nov 2022


  • Anticancer activity
  • Antitumour therapies
  • Biotargets
  • Cytotoxic agents
  • Microbial toxin
  • Bacterial Toxins/pharmacology
  • Chlorella
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Cholera Toxin/pharmacology


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