Natural products are an abundant source of anti cancer agents. They act as cytotoxic drugs, and inhibitors of apoptosis, transcription, cell proliferation and angiogenesis. While pathways targeted by natural products have been well studied, there is paucity of information about the in vivo molecular target/s of these compounds. This review summarizes some of the natural compounds for which the molecular targets, mechanism of action and structural basis of specificity have been well documented. These examples illustrate that off target binding can be explained on the basis of diversity inherent to biomolecular interactions. There is enough evidence to suggest that natural compounds are potent and versatile warheads that can be optimized for a multi targeted therapeutic intervention in cancer.
Keywords: Natural products, molecular target, specificity, mechanism, structure, cancer
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