The continuing search for antitumor agents from higher plants

Author(s): Pan L, Chai H, Kinghorn AD


Plant secondary metabolites and their semi-synthetic derivatives continue to play an important role in anticancer drug therapy. In this short review, selected single chemical entity antineoplastic agents from higher plants that are currently in clinical trials as cancer chemotherapy drug candidates are described. These compounds are representative of a wide structural diversity. In addition, the approaches taken toward the discovery of anticancer agents from tropical plants in the laboratory of the authors are summarized. The successful clinical utilization of cancer chemotherapeutic agents from higher plants has been evident for about half a century, and, when considered with the promising pipeline of new plant-derived compounds now in clinical trials, this augurs well for the continuation of drug discovery research efforts to elucidate additional candidate substances of this type.

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