Background: In spite of major technological advances in conventional therapies, cancer continues to
remain the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Phytochemicals are gradually emerging as a rich source of
effective but safer agents against many life-threatening diseases.
Methods: Various phytochemicals with reported anticancer activity have been simply categorized into major
phytoconstituents- alkaloids, polyphenols, saponins, tannins and terpenoids.
Results: The adverse effects associated with currently available anticancer medications may be overcome by
using plant-derived compounds either alone or in combination. Exploration of plant kingdom may provide new
leads for the accelerated development of new anticancer agents.
Conclusion: Although numerous potent synthetic drugs have been introduced for cancer chemotherapy, yet their
serious toxicity concerns to normal cells apart from drug resistance have emerged as the major obstacles for
their clinical utility over a prolonged duration of time. Current status and potential of phytochemicals and their
derivatives in cancer therapy have been briefly reviewed in the present manuscript.