Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 11, pp 8239–8246 | Cite as

Potential therapeutic applications of plant toxin-ricin in cancer: challenges and advances

  • Nikhil Tyagi
  • Monika Tyagi
  • Manendra Pachauri
  • Prahlad C. Ghosh


Cancer is one of the most common devastating disease affecting millions of people per year worldwide. To fight against cancer, a number of natural plant compounds have been exploited by researchers to discover novel anti-cancer therapeutics with minimum or no side effects and plants have proved their usefulness in anti-cancer therapy in past few years. Ricin, a cytotoxic plant protein isolated from castor bean seeds, is a ribosome-inactivating protein which destroys the cells by inhibiting proteins synthesis. Ricin presents great potential as anti-cancer agent and exerts its anti-cancer activity by inducing apoptosis in cancer cells. In this review, we summarize the current information on anti-cancer properties of plant toxin ricin, its potential applications in cancer therapy, challenges associated with its use as therapeutic agent and the recent advances made to overcome these challenges. Nanotechnology could open the doors for quick development of ricin-based anti-cancer therapeutics. Conceivably, ricin may serve as a chemotherapeutic agent against cancer by utilizing nanocarriers for its targeted delivery to cancer cells.


Ricin Liposomes Plant toxin Drug delivery RTA Immunotoxins 



Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikhil Tyagi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Monika Tyagi
    • 2
  • Manendra Pachauri
    • 1
  • Prahlad C. Ghosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Delhi South CampusDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Plant and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Delhi South CampusDelhiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Oncologic Sciences, Mitchell Cancer InstituteUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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