Despite decades of research, the treatment and management of malignant tumors still remain a formidable challenge for public health. New strategies for cancer treatment are being developed, and one of the most promising treatment strategies involves the application of chemopreventive agents. The search for novel and effective cancer chemopreventive agents has led to the identification of various naturally occurring compounds. Xanthones, from the pericarp, whole fruit, heartwood, and leaf of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn., GML), are known to possess a wide spectrum of pharmacologic properties, including antioxidant, anti- tumor, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral activities. The potential chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic activities of xanthones have been demonstrated in different stages of carcinogenesis (initiation, promotion, and progression) and are known to control cell division and growth, apoptosis, inflammation, and metastasis. Multiple lines of evidence from numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have confirmed that xanthones inhibit proliferation of a wide range of human tumor cell types by modulating various targets and signaling transduction pathways. Here we provide a concise and comprehensive review of preclinical data and assess the observed anticancer effects of xanthones, supporting its remarkable potential as an anticancer agent.