ABSTRACT Many conventional anticancer drugs have an associated lack of safety by their toxicity. Relatively faster mutations in tumor cells pose a significant obstacle in treatment of cancer. Recently, “Mitocans” have emerged as a novel class of anticancer agents selectively targeting tumor cells and thus, are much less toxic than conventional anticancer chemotherapeutic agents. Mitocans are drugs that act directly on mitochondria within the cell, thus causing changes in energy metabolism of the cell. Amongst these mitocans, α-Tocopheryl succinate or vitamin E analogs are studied very well by researchers. This review discusses mitochondrial drug targeting strategies and a variety of novel mitochondrial drug targets of mitocans, such as electron transport chain, mitochondrial permeability transition, Bcl-2 family proteins and mitochondrial DNA. The purpose of this review is to focus on the various classes of mitocans, the mechanisms by which these drugs specifically act on tumor cells and their applications in cancer chemotherapeutics.
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