Fisetin: A bioactive phytochemical with potential for cancer prevention and pharmacotherapy

Life Sci. 2018 Feb 1:194:75-87. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2017.12.005. Epub 2017 Dec 7.


A wide variety of chronic diseases, such as neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disorders, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthtitis, obesity and various cancers, are now being treated with cost effective phytomedicines. Since synthetic medicines are very expensive, concerted efforts are being made in developing and poor countries to discover cost effective medicines for the treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Understanding the underlying mechanisms of bioactive medicines from natural sources would not only open incipient avenues for the scientific community and pharmaceutical industry to discover new drug molecules for the therapy of NCDs, but also help to garner knowledge for alternative therapeutic approaches for the management of chronic diseases. Fisetin is a polyphenolic molecule of flavonoids class, and belongs to the bioactive phytochemicals that have potential to block multiple signaling pathways associated with NCDs such as cell division, angiogenesis, metastasis, oxidative stress, and inflammation. The emerging evidence suggests that fisetin may be useful for the prevention and management of several types of human malignancies. Efforts are being made to enhance the bioavailability of fisetin after oral administration to prevent and/or treat cancer of the liver, breast, ovary and other organs. The intent of this review is to highlight the in vitro and in vivo activities of fisetin and to provide up-to-date information about the molecular interactions of fisetin with its cellular targets involved in cancer initiation, promotion and progression as well as to focus on strategies underway to increase the bioavailability and reduce the risk of deleterious effects, if any, associated with fisetin administration.

Keywords: Adverse effects; Anticancer properties; Bioavailability; Biosynthesis; Fisetin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / chemistry
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Flavonols
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Flavonols
  • Phytochemicals
  • fisetin