Volume 9, Issue 1

Mini Review on Some African Plants with Anti-Cancer Properties

Gbemisola Saibu1, Ayorinde James2, Adedoja Wusu3, Oluwadamilare Iyapo4, Michael Arowosegbe5, Gideon Adeyemo6, Oluwatosin Adu7, Sunday Soyemi8, Adewale Fadaka9, and Francis Faduyile10
1Department Of Biochemistry, Lagos State University, Nigeria, 2Nigerian Institute Of Medical Research, Nigeria, 3Department Of Biochemistry, Lagos State University, Nigeria, 4Department Of Morbid Anatomy, Eko University Of Medicine And Health Sciences, Nigeria, 5Institute Of Biological, Environmental And Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom, 6Department Of Biochemistry, Lagos State University, Nigeria, 7Department Of Biochemistry, Lagos State University, Nigeria, 8Department Of Pathology And Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University College Of Medicine, Nigeria, 9Department Of Science And Innovation/mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, Biolabels Node, Dept Biotechnology, Faculty Of Natural Sciences, University Of The Western Cape, Capetown, South Africa, and 10Department Of Pathology And Forensic Medicine ,lagos State University College Of Medicine, Lagos Nigeria, Nigeria


Every year, cancer takes the life of millions of people. Indeed, medicinal plants have long been investigated by scientists for their anti-cancer properties. Herbal plants have recently attracted worldwide attention of researchers for their possible use in the management of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases. Most of the conventional cancer treatment options have produced unsatisfactory results for some types of cancers, and in most instances, the side effects are severe, leading to a shift in the focus of treatment towards alternative medicines. Plant-derived compounds have been a vital source of most of the known clinically useful anti-cancer agents. These include vinblastine, vincristine, the camptothecin derivatives, topotecan and irinotecan, etoposide, derived from epipodophyllotoxin, and paclitaxel (taxol®), taxanes, homoharringtonine and elliptinium. Many promising new agents are in clinical development based on selective activity against cancer-related molecular targets. African plants have a vital role in cancer chemoprophylaxis and chemotherapy. With advanced knowledge of molecular science and refinement in isolation and structure elucidation techniques, various African plants with anticancer properties have been identified,and some of which exert their therapeutic effects by inhibiting cancer-activating enzymes and hormones, stimulating DNA repair mechanism, promoting production of protective enzymes, inducing antioxidant action or enhancing natural immunity of the individual. This review attempts to examine scientific information in the available literature on some specific African plants with anti-cancer properties.

Keywords: Natural Product, Anti-cancer , Vinblastine , Vincristine , Medicinal plants , and Taxanes.

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