Cancer is a worldwide scourge; it’s the leading cause of death in developed countries and is increasing in developing
countries. Mankind has been trying with effort to find better and cheaper treatments with fewer side effects, to reduce the incidence of the
disease and its consequent mortality. For many years, phenolic compounds have been intensely studied for their antitumor, proapoptotic
and antiangiogenic effects. In recent years, the usage of these compounds has increased considerably.
This manuscript intends to structurally characterize the different phenolic compounds (flavonoids, hydroxycinnamates, hydroxybenzoates,
coumarins, xanthones, chalcones, stilbenes, lignins and lignans) and their metabolic pathways as well as review the most important
results regarding these compounds and their derivatives in cancer treatment and prevention both in tumor cell lines in vitro, in murine
models in vivo and finally some results regarding human trials.