Evidence of Potential Plant-derived Compounds With Anticancer Effects on Lung Cancer: Clinical and Molecular Pharmacology Approaches

Anticancer Res. 2022 Sep;42(9):4247-4258. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.15924.


The effects of plant-derived active compounds on cancer cells have been intensively investigated, leading to the possibility of dietary-based cancer prevention regimens and recommendations for patients with cancer. Many studies have revealed that several compounds can attenuate oxidative stress, suppress survival and proliferative signals, and diminish or suppress cancer stem cells (CSCs). These may provide novel lead compounds for drug development and benefit cancer therapy. The important pharmacological shift in anticancer therapy is the transition of drug discovery for cytotoxic drugs toward targeted therapy and more specific therapy like CSC-targeted therapy. Cancer-driven signaling, as well as survival pathways, have become vital targets for targeted therapeutic drug action. Furthermore, in aggressive cancers, such as lung cancer, it was shown that CSCs drive cancer initiation, progression, metastasis, and therapeutic failure. Moreover, plant-derived compounds are found as a component in diet and are considered safe. Here, we review cancer-protective elements found in plants, including phenolic compounds such as curcumin, carotenoids (β-carotene and lycopene), epigallocatechin-3-gallate, ginsenoside Rg3, resveratrol, and sulforaphane, for their possible anticancer, anti-metastasis, and cancer-preventive actions against lung cancer, especially in clinical and molecular pharmacological approaches. This review comprehensively summarizes the anticancer properties, target proteins, and CSC suppression capabilities of these plant-derived compounds that may potentially benefit the development of novel anticancer drugs or dietary recommendations for patients with lung cancer.

Keywords: Lung cancer; anticancer; cancer stem cell; plant-derived compounds; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phytochemicals
  • Curcumin