Molecular targets of vitexin and isovitexin in cancer therapy: a critical review

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2017 Aug;1401(1):102-113. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13446.


Cancer is a primary public health problem and the second leading cause of death worldwide. It causes life-threatening malignancies and results in high financial costs for both patients and the healthcare system. Hence, it is important to develop effective long-term strategies pertaining to prevention and control of cancers. Plant-derived secondary metabolites have been shown to have positive roles against various cancers. A number of plant extracts have been evaluated for possible use in the treatment of cancer; some have provided direction for new strategies for the research and development of antitumor agents. Here, we provide comprehensive data on various cancers, potential molecular mechanisms, and therapeutic implications of just two plant-derived compounds, vitexin and isovitexin. Information on the chemotherapeutic potential of vitexin and isovitexin was collected from a library database and through electronic searches (ScienceDirect, Pubmed, and Google Scholar). Both in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that vitexin and isovitexin are chemopreventive compounds with activity against various cancers through proapoptotic processes and/or autophagy.

Keywords: cancer; flavone C-glycosides; molecular mechanism; therapeutic implications.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Apigenin / isolation & purification
  • Apigenin / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Apigenin
  • vitexin
  • isovitexin