Background: Salvia displays diverse anticancer properties, which are attributable to their
diterpene and phenolic contents. There is no comprehensive review on the anticancer diversity and
molecular targets of Salvia components.
Objective: We investigate the diversity and molecular targets of Salvia phytometabolites responsible
for the prevention and treatment of cancer and sarcoma.
Results and Conclusion: Traditional therapeutic knowledge suggests that Salvia species can be used
to develop anticancer drugs. Lots of concerns have been raised for tanshinone (Tan) IIA and cryptotanshinone.
Some Salvia compounds disturb cell cycle and induce apoptosis of tumor cells or enhance
immune activities, while others inhibit the proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis, or reverse
the multi-drug resistance of cancer cells. Salvia phytometabolites regulate most cancer hallmarks
defined by Hanahan and Weinberg. The same class of phytometabolite could exert the anticancer
activity via multiple pathways. ADME/T properties and pharmacokinetic bebaviors of some
phytometabolites have been revealed. Fluorescent probes are powerful tools for screening substrates,
inhibitors or inducers of drug metabolizing enzymes/transporters from Salvia phytometabolites. Omics
platform will greatly help mining more potentially useful phytometabolites from Salvia plants. More
Salvia plants have application potential in pharmaceutical industry and clinical cancer therapy.