Anti-cancer activities of cytokinin ribosides

  • Jiří VollerEmail author
  • Tibor Béres
  • Marek Zatloukal
  • Petr Džubák
  • Marián Hajdúch
  • Karel Doležal
  • Thomas Schmülling
  • Strnad MiroslavEmail author


Cytokinins are plant hormones and play essential roles in regulating plant growth and development. They also have diverse pharmacological effects in animals and humans. Whereas cytokinin bases have been studied mainly for their cytoprotective activities, cytokinin ribosides have been explored as anti-cancer agents. Cytokinin ribosides inhibit growth or cause apoptosis in various cell lines derived from diverse malignancies including those with a mutant p53 gene. Activity against cancer stem cells, anti-angiogenic activity, and the ability to stimulate an immune response to malignant cells have been reported as well. There are also positive results from in vivo studies and reports of activity in patients with hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Here, we review studies of the anti-cancer activity of cytokinin ribosides since the 1960s and comment on the issues that need to be addressed for the further development of cytokinin ribosides into anti-cancer drugs.


Cytokinin Cytokinin riboside Cancer Anti-cancer drug 



Adenosine receptor A3


Adenosine deaminase


Adenosine kinase


AMP-activated protein kinase






Cytokinin riboside


Cytokinin riboside-5′-monophosphate


2′-Deoxynucleoside 5′-phosphate N-hydrolase 1


Farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase






Kinetin riboside


Kinetin riboside-5′-triphosphate




Ortho-topolin riboside



This study was partially supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (GACR Grant Nos. 17-14007S, NPU I LO1304, and OP VVV project ENOCH CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000868).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 394 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Growth Regulators, The Czech Academy of SciencesInstitute of Experimental Botany & Palacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Clinical and Molecular Pathology, Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and DentistryPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Chemical Biology and Genetics, Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural ResearchPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  4. 4.Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and DentistryPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  5. 5.Institute of Biology/Applied Genetics, Dahlem Centre of Plant SciencesFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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