Clin Transl Med. 2019 May 1 ;8(1):15. Epub 2019 May 1. PMID: 31041568
Clinical applications of fucoidan in translational medicine for adjuvant cancer therapy.
The chemical composition of fucoidan, a kind of sulfated polysaccharide mainly derived from brown seaweed, includes a substantial percentage of L-fucose. Fucoidan has various biological and pharmacological activities, such as anti-cancer/anti-tumor, anti-proliferation, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory functions, and fucoidan-related dietary supplements and nutraceuticals have recently drawn considerable attention. In this review, we aim to provide a current view of different aspects of fucoidan biological activity, with a focus on the anti-cancer regulatory effects of fucoidan on growth signaling mechanisms. First, we discuss historical aspects of fucoidan and fucoidan products, as well as the anti-cancer effects of fucoidan on various cancer cells. Second, we discuss fucoidan's biological activities and induction of cell death in cancer cells, including multiple mechanisms and signal transduction pathways related to its anti-cancer effects. Next, we focus on fucoidan and fucoidan-derived products that have been marketed as dietary supplements or nutraceuticals for cancer, including anti-cancer effects of fucoidan when combined as an adjuvant with clinical drugs. Finally, case studies of fucoidan in complementary therapy and as an alternative medicine in animal and mouse models and human clinical trials to alleviate side effects of anti-cancer chemotherapy are discussed. Combining fucoidan with clinical therapeutic agents in the treatment of cancer patients, dissecting the related signal transduction pathways and investigating their dynamic interactions may reveal potential molecular targets in cancer prevention, therapies and key obstacles in the current development of anti-cancer strategies.