Background: Oral cancer is a significant health problem worldwide. Oral squamous cell
carcinoma (OSCC) is a malignant neoplasm of epithelial cells that mostly affects different anatomical
sites in the head and neck and derives from the squamous epithelium or displays similar morphological
characteristics. Generally, OSCC is often the end stage of several changes in the stratified
squamous epithelium, which begin as epithelial dysplasia and progress by breaking the basement
membrane and invading adjacent tissues. Several plant-based drugs with potent anti-cancer effects
are considered inexpensive treatments with limited side effects for cancer and other diseases.
Objective: The aim of this review is to explore whether some Brazilian plant extracts or constituents
exhibit anti-tumorigenic activity or have a cytotoxic effect on human oral carcinoma cells.
Methods: Briefly, OSCC and several metabolites derived from Brazilian plants (i.e., flavonoids,
vinblastine, irinotecan, etoposide and paclitaxel) were used as keywords to search the literature on
PubMed, GenBank and GeneCards.
Results: The results showed that these five chemical compounds found in Cerrado Biome plants exhibit
anti-neoplastic effects. Evaluating the compounds revealed that they play a main role in the
regulation of cell proliferation.
Conclusion: Preserving and utilising the biodiversity of our planet, especially in unique ecosystems,
such as the Cerrado Biome, may prove essential to preserving and promoting human health
in modern contexts.