Plant Metabolites as New Leads to Anticancer Drug Discovery: Approaches and Challenges

  • Sagar Satish DatirEmail author


Cancer is one of the most life-threatening diseases widely affecting the mortality of the world’s population. Anticancer therapies such as radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and surgery have gained limited success in cancer treatment, and therefore, there is a need to develop an alternative method to treat chronic diseases like cancer. Medicinal plants and plant foods such as vegetables and fruits are in use to treat human diseases since prehistoric times because of their health-promoting effects. Certainly, there is an increased public awareness regarding the use of medicinal plants in treating human diseases as they are promising source of drugs with minimal or no side effects. Plant metabolites from various parts of medicinal plants have attracted attention of researchers and pharmaceutical industries in treating cancer due to their indispensable use with reduced side effects. With the advent of techniques such as transgenics, bioinformatics, metabolomics, and nanotechnology, plant metabolites offer opportunities to anticancer drug discovery. The use of phytochemicals, computational approaches in drug design, the efficacy and efficiency, the mode of action, and further clinical studies might provide new avenues in cancer research. Plant-derived anticancer compounds are currently being used in clinical studies and are currently being investigated phytochemically to understand their antitumor actions against various cancers. The present chapter summarizes the information on anticancer medicinal plants and their derived phytochemicals or metabolites and also on the development of plant-derived substances to treat cancer.


Alkaloids Anticancer Drug Medicinal plants Metabolites 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologySavitribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia

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