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Review Article Open Access
Background: Cancer is the major cause of death throughout the world. In the developing world, the rate of death increases due to old age and changes in the lifestyle of people. At present, the researchers from multidisciplinary areas are focusing on strategies to combat this disease. Several chemotherapeutic, cytotoxic and immunomodulatory drugs are being explored from natural sources like plants, insects and marine organisms. Alkaloids belonging to the phenanthroindolizidine class are an example of such phytochemicals isolated from natural sources and found to exhibit interesting pharmacological properties. These alkaloids are well known for their cytotoxic activity, due to the inhibition of protein and nucleic acid synthesis. Hence numerous approaches to synthesize the phenanthroindolizidines and their analogues have been reported.
Method and findings: This review will hence provide an overview on the anti-cancer effects of Phenanthroindolizidine Alkaloids (PAs) reported from scientific and patent literature. The details of the mode of actions, study models, effective dosages, combination therapy and other pharmacological aspects of the alkaloid will be highlighted. Some of these alkaloids were found to possess anti-cancer activity by inhibiting the overexpression of COX-2 enzyme and NF-kB receptors, the deregulation of which is found to cause tumors. Further studies related to the in-silico docking studies confirm their interaction with COX-2 protein which is one of the important targets for treating inflammation based cancer.
Phenanthroindolizidine alkaloids, Anticancer, COX-2 enzyme, In-Silico studies, Cytotoxic, Patents, Use of Chemical Structures, Molecular Graphics