Background: The immense development in the field of anticancer research has led to an
increase in the research of bioactive compounds with anticancer potential. It has been known that many
bioactive natural compounds have low solubility (and low bioavailability) as their main drawback when
it comes to the formulation and drug delivery to specific sites.
Objective: As many attempts have been made to overcome this issue, this review gives a summary of
the current accomplishments regarding the development of new Drug Delivery Systems (DDSs) represented
by nanoparticles (NPs) and exosomes.
Methods: We analyzed the published data concerning selected compounds that present the most prominent
plant secondary metabolites with anticancer potential, specifically flavone (quercetin), isoflavone
(genistein and curcumin) and stilbene (resveratrol) groups that have been formulated as NPs and
exosomes. In addition, we summarized the patent literature published from 2015-2018 that address
Results: Although the exact mechanism of action for the selected natural compounds still remains unclear,
the anticancer effect is evident and the main research efforts are directed to finding the most suitable
delivery systems. Recent patents in this field serve as evidence that these newly designed natural
compound delivery systems could be powerful new anticancer agents in the very near future if the
noted difficulties are overcome.
Conclusion: The focus of recent research is not only to clarify the exact mechanisms of action and
therapeutic effects, but also to answer the issue of suitable delivery systems that can transport sufficient
doses of bioactive compounds to the desired target.