To assess the possibility of using the antimalarial drug artemisinin and its synthetic derivatives as antineoplastic drugs. A Pubmed and Google Scholar (1983-2018) search was performed using the terms artemisinin, cancer, artesunate and Artemisia annua. Case reports and original research articles, review articles, and clinical trials in both humans and animals were evaluated. Both in vitro and in vivo clinical trials and case reports have shown promising activity of the artemisinin drug derivatives in treating certain types of cancer. However, the reported articles are few, and therefore not statistically significant. The minimal toxicity shown in clinical trials and case reports, along with the selective cytotoxic activity of the compounds, make them possible cancer therapies due to the emerging evidence of the drug's effectiveness.
Keywords: artemisinin; cancer; malaria.