• George R. Pettit
  • Gordon M. Cragg


From substantial (and indisputable) evidence already outlined in the previous volume, at least 2–4% of plant species and 8–10% of animal species synthesize antineoplastic and/or cytotoxic substances. The potential of these figures for treatment of human cancer truly staggers the imagination and offers great promise of many curative approaches to the cancer problem. For some perspective one need only to consider that the world’s flora may number up to 800,000 and the more conspicuous members of our terrestrial vegetation, the angiosperms, may number from 300,000 to some 500,000131,231 Further, enormous numbers of microorganism species appear to be available. In the animal segment of life the marine invertebrates alone number over 1,000,000 species, and with marine vertebrates the fishes comprise over 25,000 species. In the arthropod area the class insecta alone includes over 1,000,000 species. Since only a few percent of the known plants and less than 0.5% of the known animals have been evaluated for anticancer or cytotoxic constituents, it is apparent that we have just about reached the end of the beginning in our search for biosynthetic cancer chemotherapeutic drugs.


Sesquiterpene Lactone Evaporation Residue Chloroform Fraction Isoquinoline Alkaloid Petroleum Ether Fraction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • George R. Pettit
    • 1
  • Gordon M. Cragg
    • 2
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.University of Cape TownSouth Africa

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