Oxoisoaporphines and aporphines: Versatile molecules with anticancer effects

Esteban Rodríguez-Arce, Patricio Cancino, Manuel Arias-Calderón, Paul Silva-Matus, Marianela Saldías

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is a disease that involves impaired genome stability with a high mortality index globally. Since its discovery, many have searched for effective treatment, assessing different molecules for their anticancer activity. One of the most studied sources for anticancer therapy is natural compounds and their derivates, like alkaloids, which are organic molecules containing nitrogen atoms in their structure. Among them, oxoisoaporphine and sampangine compounds are receiving increased attention due to their potential anticancer effects. Boldine has also been tested as an anticancer molecule. Boldine is the primary alkaloid extract from boldo, an endemic tree in Chile. These compounds and their derivatives have unique structural properties that potentially have an anticancer mechanism. Different studies showed that this molecule can target cancer cells through several mechanisms, including reactive oxygen species generation, DNA binding, and telomerase enzyme inhibition. In this review, we summarize the state-of-art research related to oxoisoaporphine, sampangine, and boldine, with emphasis on their structural characteristics and the relationship between structure, activity, methods of extraction or synthesis, and anticancer mechanism. With an effective cancer therapy still lacking, these three compounds are good candidates for new anticancer research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Alkaloids
  • Anticancer action
  • Aporphine
  • Boldine
  • Oxoisoaporphine
  • ROS
  • Sampangine
  • Structure-biological activity
  • Telomerase inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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