The purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana): Defining the anticancer potential of selected xanthones

Pharmacol Res. 2022 Jan:175:106032. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2021.106032. Epub 2021 Dec 9.


The purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a popular Southeast Asian fruit that has been used traditionally for its health promoting benefits for years. Unique to the mangosteen are a class of phytochemicals known as xanthones that have been reported to display significant anti-cancer and anti-tumor activities, specifically through the promotion of apoptosis, targeting of specific cancer-related proteins, or modulation of cell signaling pathways. α-Mangostin, the most abundant xanthone isolated from the mangosteen, has received substantial attention as it has proven to be a potent phytochemical, specifically as an anticancer agent, in numerous different cancer cell studies and cancer animal models. While the mechanisms for these anticancer effects have been reported in many studies, lesser xanthones, including gartanin, β-mangostin, γ-mangostin, garcinone C, and garcinone E, and mangosteen extracts from the pericarp, roots, rind, and stem show promise for their anticancer activity but their mechanisms of action are not as well developed and remain to be determined. Mangosteen products appear safe and have been well tolerated in human clinical trials where they show antioxidant activity, though their clinical anticancer activity has not yet been evaluated. This review summarizes the work that has been done to explore and explain the anticancer and antitumor activities of α-mangostin, lesser xanthones, and mangosteen extracts in vitro, in vivo, and in humans in various cancers.

Keywords: Anticancer; Chemoprevention; Garcinia mangostana; Garcinone C (PubChem CID: 44159808); Garcinone E (10298511); Gartanin (PubChem CID: 5281633); Mangosteen; Prostate cancer; Xanthones; α-Mangostin (PubChem CID: 5281650); β-Mangostin (PubChem CID: 5495925); γ-Mangostin (PubChem CID: 5464078).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Garcinia mangostana*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xanthones / therapeutic use*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Xanthones