Multifunctional roles and pharmacological potential of β-sitosterol: Emerging evidence toward clinical applications

Chem Biol Interact. 2022 Sep 25:365:110117. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2022.110117. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Currently, available therapeutic medications are both costly as well as not entirely promising in terms of potency. So, new candidates from natural resources are of research interest to find new alternative therapeutics. A well-known combination is a β-sitosterol, a plant-derived nutrient with anticancer properties against breast, prostate, colon, lung, stomach, and leukemia. Studies have shown that β-sitosterol interferes with multiple cell signaling pathways, including cell cycle, apoptosis, proliferation, survival, invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, cardioprotective, and antidiabetic effects have been discovered during pharmacological screening without significant toxicity. The pharmacokinetic profile of β-sitosterol has also been extensively investigated. However, a comprehensive review of the pharmacology, phytochemistry and analytical methods of β-sitosterol is desired. Because β-sitosterol is a significant component of most plant materials, humans use it for various reasons, and numerous β-sitosterol-containing products have been commercialized. To offset the low efficacy of β-sitosterol, designing β-sitosterol delivery for "cancer cell-specific" therapy holds great potential. Delivery of β-sitosterol via liposomes is a demonstration that has shown great promise. But further research has not progressed on the drug delivery of β-sitosterol or how it can enhance β-sitosterol mediated anti-inflammatory activity, thus making β-sitosterol an orphan nutraceutical. Therefore, extensive research on β-sitosterol as an anticancer nutraceutical is recommended.

Keywords: Biological characteristics; Pharmacological potential; Pharmacology; Toxicity; β-Sitosterol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Sitosterols* / pharmacology
  • Sitosterols* / therapeutic use


  • Plant Extracts
  • Sitosterols
  • gamma-sitosterol