Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases worldwide and the incidence is on the rise in both developing and developed countries. It is treated by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. In spite of advances in treatment strategies, cancer still remains a major cause of death. Research is on for development of better drugs which are more effective and simultaneously cause fewer side effects. Plants have been used for the treatment of various ailments of man and animals since ages. They are being screened extensively to explore the possibility of development of economically viable anticancer drugs. Natural products of plant origin currently constitute a considerable proportion of commercially available antineoplastic drugs. This review gives an insight into commercially available anticancer drugs of plant origin and also patents granted to plant derived components, extracts and polyherbal formulations possessing anticancer activity. The exhaustive work reviewed here on antineoplastic activity of various plants both in vitro and experimental models throughout the world will help design further research in this field.
Keywords: Anticancer, antineoplastic, cancer, extracts, herbs, in vitro, medicinal plants, neoplasm, malignant, progenitor cell, oncogene, tumor suppressor gene, metastatic tumors, chronic inflammation, carcinogenic food additives and pollutants