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Silver nanoparticles as proapoptotic drugs: pharmacological basis in non-metastatic skin melanoma

Pharmacy & Pharmacology International Journal
Maria del Carmen Travieso Novelles,1 Thais Silvia Perez Brown,2 Dany Naranjo Feliciano,3 Adrian Gonzalez Travieso,4 Ismely Rosa Hernandez5

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Purpose: The incidence of different types of skin cancer increases proportionally to population aging and environmental factors, among other causes. Melanoma-type skin cancer represents a serious health problem in the world, due to its invasiveness and the high mortality associated with its development. With the rise of nanosciences, the scientific community has access to tools that facilitate cell study and the development of promising technologies and products for diagnosis and treatment from various approaches.
Aims: Update research on silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) as a pharmacological alternative for the treatment of malignant melanoma-type skin lesions.
Methods: Qualitative search based on the systematic review of the scientific literature, such as the Web of Science and Pubmed, based on keywords related to the subject under study and their impact on the solution of this growing health problem. Also, advances in the research of candidates for products based on AgNPs for topical therapeutic purposes.
Results: The review carried out confirmed that nanotechnologies and, specifically, the synthesis of AgNPs from natural sources represents a source of proapoptotic active ingredients with an impact on malignant skin melanoma cells, which points to the need for further studies in this promising field for the development of future drugs for this purpose. It was found that this is a topic in constant progress and inexhaustible that supports the priority in research from multiple approaches. AgNPs obtained from natural sources activate caspase 3 by different mechanisms. Currently, the results of biochemical (enzymatic), studies in cell lines and animal tumor models are complemented with in silico results to demonstrate the mechanisms of action of this new generation of antitumor drugs as an alternative for the approach of melanoma skin cancer. It is evident that other studies are needed to complement the development cycle of the candidates and specifically the cytotoxicity studies on healthy cells among other preclinical and toxicological studies before reaching the target species. This review aims to draw attention to the advantages of green nanotechnologies as advantageous alternatives that could positively impact human health in the near future.
Conclusion: AgNPs stand out for their physical-chemical and biological properties that impact malignant cells through different mechanisms. The demonstrated pro-apoptosis effect makes them promising candidates for the therapeutic approach of these topical lesions with a negative prognosis. Among the most innovative research is the search for pro-apoptotic active ingredients mediated by caspase 3. These compounds are opening a promising path due to the activity demonstrated in silico, on cell line assays and in vivo studies.


silver nanoparticles, apoptosis, caspases, skin cancer, melanoma, cell line, mode of action