Chemical study of marine organisms has revealed them as a rich source of natural
products with unique structural characteristics and outstanding biological activities. Marine
macrolides are a unique group of natural products that frequently include a highly
oxygenated polyene backbone and a macrocyclic lactone as a conformational constraint.
Many of them have shown unparalleled cell growth antiproliferative properties, making
them valuable molecular probes for the discovery of new biochemical pathways or as
promising lead compounds in the development route to new antitumor chemotherapeutic
agents. This bibliographic review has been focussed on marine macrolides with strong
cytotoxic activity and potential in cancer research and therapy, as well as those macrolides
either in the market or currently in clinical trials and/or preclinical development.
Marine macrolides, antitumor agents, blue biotechnology, natural
products, cytotoxicity, cancer.
Instituto Universitario de Bioorgánica “Antonio González”, Astrofísico Fco. Sánchez 2, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna 38206, Canary Islands, Spain