Natural Products as Sources of Anticancer Agents: Current Approaches and Perspectives

  • Gordon M. Cragg
  • David J. Newman


Natural products from marine invertebrates and microbes from terrestrial (and marine) sources together with higher plants have been an important source of many clinically useful anticancer agents. Over 60% of the current anticancer drugs have their origin in one way or another from natural sources. Some important examples include the vinca alkaloids, camptothecin derivatives, and taxanes. This chapter will briefly cover older agents where new findings have been published but will emphasize current promising new agents which are in clinical use and development, based on activity against cancer-related targets. These compounds may have been developed from targeted or phenotypic screening programs, and examples will be given from each approach. Then the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in the generation and optimization of novel molecular leads from natural product sources will be discussed, with examples chosen to demonstrate how chemical and biochemical strategies were used to improve their biological effects.


Natural products Biodiversity Anticancer agents Multidisciplinary collaboration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon M. Cragg
    • 1
  • David J. Newman
    • 2
  1. 1.GaithersburgUSA
  2. 2.WayneUSA

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