Plant natural products with anti-thyroid cancer activity

Fitoterapia. 2020 Oct:146:104640. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2020.104640. Epub 2020 May 28.


Thyroid cancer is the most frequent endocrine malignancy, with more than 500,000 cases per year worldwide. Differentiated thyroid cancers are the most common forms with best prognosis, while poorly/undifferentiated ones are rare (2% of all thyroid cancer), aggressive, frequently metastasize and have a worse prognosis. For aggressive, metastatic and advanced thyroid cancer novel antitumor molecules are urgently needed and phytochemical products can be a rational and extensive source, since secondary plant metabolites can guarantee the necessary biochemical variability for therapeutic purpose. Among bioactive molecules that present biological activity on thyroid cancer, resveratrol, curcumin, isoflavones, glucosinolates are the most common and used in experimental model. Most of them have been studied both in vitro and in vivo on this cancer, but rarely in clinical trial. This review summarizes phytochemicals, phytotherapeutics and plant derived compounds used in thyroid cancer.

Keywords: Anaplastic thyroid cancer; Follicular thyroid cancer; Medullary thyroid cancer; Papillary thyroid cancer; Phytochemicals; Phytotherapeutics; Phytotherapy; Plant extracts; Plant natural products; Thyroid cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Resveratrol / pharmacology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Isoflavones
  • Phytochemicals
  • Quercetin
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol