Among the known synthetic routes to obtain xanthones, the Grover, Shah, and Shah reaction, the cyclodehydration of 2, 2-dihydroxybenzophenones and electrophilic cycloacylation of 2-aryloxybenzoic acids are the most popular methods. Due to important biological applications of xanthones, some synthetic strategies leading to more complex derivatives have been widely explored in the past years. Thus, the purpose of this review is to report some recent improvements of the classical synthetic methods as well as of some nonclassical methods to obtain simple oxygenated xanthones. The strategies for introduction of substituents into the xanthonic nucleus are also summarized. Furthermore, different approaches used to synthesize complex structures, with an emphasis on the total synthesis of bioactive natural products, accomplished in the last twenty years, are also discussed. Besides the synthesis of xanthones, the reactivity of the xanthonic nucleus and its role as a key intermediate for the synthesis of other important classes of compounds are also highlighted.
Keywords: xanthone, xanthenone, heterocycle, synthesis, benzophenone, diphenyl ether, xanthene
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