Friday, 20 February 2015

Plant-derived anticancer agents: a promising treatment for bone metastasis

Plant-derived anticancer agents: a promising treatment for bone metastasis

BoneKEy Reports
Article number:
Published online


Bone metastasis is a very frequent complication of advanced cancer, and it remains an incurable disease. Current therapies that have been approved for the treatment of bone metastases delay the occurrence of skeletal-related events and can extend the patient’s lifespan by a few years. However, they will not cure or cause the regression of established bone metastases, and new side effects are emerging after prolonged treatment. Thus, new therapies are severely needed. There are compelling evidences from in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies that support the use of compounds derived from plants to treat several forms of cancers including bone metastasis. More than 25% of the drugs used during the past 20 years were directly derived from plants, whereas another 25% are chemically altered natural products. Still, only 5–15% of the ~250000 higher plants have ever been investigated for bioactive compounds. There is a growing interest for the study of anticancer drugs with relatively low side effects that target specific key signaling pathways that control the establishment and progression of the cancer metastasis. Therefore, further studies are needed to identify new natural compounds with high efficiency in cancer prevention and treatment. Extensive reviews about plant-derived agents and their use in cancer have been published, but none when it comes to the treatment of bone metastases. Only a few of these compounds have been evaluated for the treatment of bone metastasis; here we describe some of the most prominent ones that are having the potential to reach the clinic soon.


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Author information


  1. Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, USA

    • Patricia Juárez
  2. Biomedical Development Unit, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE), Ensenada, Baja California, México

    • Patricia Juárez

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.