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Table 1 Antiproliferative and cytotoxic effect of selected antivirals and antibiotics

From: Using antimicrobial adjuvant therapy in cancer treatment: a review

Anti-microbial Target and its function Mechanism Shown in References
Ribavirin Eukaryotic translation initiation factor: eIF4E; Enhanced mRNA transport and translation of cyclin D1, survivin, c-myc, VEGF and etc. Ribavirin binds to eIF4E with high affinity and competes with its binding to mRNA; selectively disrupts eIF4E subcellular organization and therefore transport and translation of mRNAs which are post-transcriptionally regulated by eIF4E leading to decreased levels of oncogenes such as cyclin D1. Patients with acute myeloid leukemias; Breast cancer cell lines [2729]
Acyclovir indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO); enhances activity of Treg while Treg inhibits immunity in glioblastomas Acyclovir could decrease Treg function in glioblastoma and could potentially be used as an adjunct in therapy Proposed [8]
17-AAG, 17-DMAG (geldanamycin analogs) HSP-90 promotes survival of tumor cell, induces their growth and metastasis even when there are no growth factors via continued protein translation and cellular proliferation; Its client proteins include: KIT, AKT, CDK4, telomerase, Bcl-2, MMP2 and others. Inhibition of HSP90 leads to decreased level and activity of its client protein protooncogene KIT and downstream signaling molecules AKT and STAT3 HMC-1 cells derived from a patient with mast cell leukemia [30, 31]
   Hsp90 inhibition by 17-AAG leads to decreased proliferation and viability and increased radiosensitivity of cancer cells Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma cell lines [32]
Clioquinol Acts as metal ionophore Probably increases metal concentration in mitochondria and induces release of cytochrome c leading to apoptosis DHL-4, A2780, SiHa and other cells and mouse xenograft model [33]
PMEG, PMEDAP VEGF, EGF, FGF, PDGF and their receptors are important in angiogenesis Diphosphate derivatives of PMEG and PMEDAP inhibit DNA polymerase and activity of human telomerase in vitro. DNA damage could affect signalling pathways associated with angiogenesis. SD-lymphoma bearing rats [34]