Rilpivirine is an antiretroviral drug used to treat AIDS worldwide. The drug is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that halts the cDNA elongation process and, thus, the capacity of the HIV-1 virus to replicate. With the new wave of drug repurposing in recent years, rilpivirine has been studied in this regard. This drug is useful in Zika virus treatment, with in vivo results indicating regression in neuronal effects often associated with this infection. Several cancer types have also been researched, from breast to leukemia and pancreatic cancer, and rilpivirine has proved to have inhibitory effects in various cell lines with low concentrations, causing cellular death, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest. The pathways are not yet established, but some works have hypothesized and demonstrated that rilpivirine causes inhibition of Aurora A kinase and has effects on the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway and the vascular endothelial growth factors-receptors (VEGFs-VEGFRs) pathway, which are known to be altered in cancer and tumors and can be targeted for cancer treatment. Further testing and clinical trials are needed, but this review demonstrates the potential of rilpivirine’s repurposing for cancer treatment.
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