Background: Centilla asiatica L is a medicinal herb that has been widely used in folk medicine to
treat various diseases. Asiatic Acid (AA), a triterpene and a known component of this herb, has been shown to
display important biological activities, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic,
neuroprotective, anxiolytic and antidepressant, hepatoprotective, pancreas protective, and cardio-
Objective: This review focuses on AA’s anti-cancer effects on the basis of published literature found in a number
of databases such as PubMed and Science Direct. Emphasis has been given to the mechanisms of action of
its anti-cancer effect.
Methods: A literature survey was conducted using known databases such as PubMed and Science Direct using
the keywords ‘Asiatic acid’, pairing with ‘cancer’, ‘tumor’, ‘anti-cancer effect’, ‘cytotoxic effect’, ‘anti-tumor
activity’, ‘cell line’, ‘animal cancer’, and ‘human cancer’.
Results: Findings suggest that AA exerts anti-cancer effects in several test systems through various pathways,
including oxidative/antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxicity, apoptotic cell death, necrosis, anti-angiogenesis,
inhibition of proliferation and cell migration, and chemoprevention.
Conclusion: AA may be an effective plant-based cancer chemotherapeutic agent and a promising lead for the
development of potent anticancer drugs.