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Anticancer Drugs. 2002 Aug;13(7):673-83.

The clinical development of the bryostatins.

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Cancer Research UK Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester M20 4BX, UK.


The bryostatins are a group of novel macrocyclic lactones derived from the marine bryozoan, Bugula neritina. In vitro evidence indicates that their main mechanism of action is modulation of protein kinase C (PKC) activity. Phase I studies suggested significant antineoplastic activity against several tumor types and defined the main dose-limiting toxicity as myalgia. Bryostatin-1 has subsequently been investigated extensively in phase II clinical trials as a single agent, although trial design has been hampered by lack of human pharmacokinetic data. Results have been generally disappointing but in vitro and animal data suggests an important role for bryostatin-1 in combination with cytotoxic agents. Preliminary results of phase I studies support these observations but further work needs to be done to define the future role of the bryostatins in the clinic.

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