Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 384–408 | Cite as

Antipsychotic dopamine receptor antagonists, cancer, and cancer stem cells

  • Md. Saiful Islam Roney
  • Song-Kyu ParkEmail author


Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Despite extensive studies, treating metastatic cancers remains challenging. Years of research have linked a rare set of cells known as cancer stem cells (CSCs) to drug resistance, leading to the suggestion that eradication of CSCs might be an effective therapeutic strategy. However, few drug candidates are active against CSCs. New drug discovery is often a lengthy process. Drug screening has been advantageous in identifying drug candidates. Current understanding of cancer biology has revealed various clues to target cancer from different points of view. Many studies have found dopamine receptors (DRs) in various cancers. Therefore, DR antagonists have attracted a lot of attention in cancer research. Recently, a group of antipsychotic DR antagonists has been demonstrated to possess remarkable abilities to restrain and sensitize CSCs to existing chemotherapeutics by a process called differentiation approach. In this review, we will describe current aspects of CSC-targeting therapeutics, antipsychotic DR antagonists, and their extraordinary abilities to fight cancer.


Cancer Cancer stem cells Antipsychotics Dopamine Dopamine receptor antagonist Differentiation therapy 



This research was supported by Grants (NRF-2014R1A1A2059237 and NRF-2016R1D1A1B03936072) of the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Republic of Korea.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest related to this article to disclose.


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© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyKorea UniversitySejongRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Research Driven HospitalKorea University Guro Hospital, Biomedical Research CenterSeoulRepublic of Korea

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