Phytochemicals with Anticancer Potential: Methods of Extraction, Basic Structure, and Chemotherapeutic Action

  • Gulrez Nizami
  • R. Z. Sayyed


Plants have been the integral part of human life and serve as a vital source of many bioactive compounds. The phytochemicals formed during plant’s metabolic processes are potentially useful for a variety of applications in human life. Phytochemicals are generally nonnutritive, naturally occurring chemical compounds which possess medicinal potential or are a source of raw chemicals for the synthesis of medicinally important drugs. Most of the phytochemicals have antioxidant activity, which may protect the human cells against oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species, and also minimize the severity of inflammation. Free radical-scavenging phytochemicals, viz., flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, quinones, amines, vitamins, and other plant metabolites possess anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, and antiviral activities. Flavonoids have been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer, while the consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower effectively reduce the chances of prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancers. Sulforaphane found in broccoli is believed to offer some degrees of preventing cancer. The present chapter describes the importance of some plants of the genera Philenoptera (family, Fabaceae), Xanthocercis (family, Fabaceae), and Euphorbia (family, Euphorbiaceae) and crucifer (family, Cruciferae) and their significance in the treatment of cancer and other diseases with respect to their chemical structure and methods of extraction. Moreover, anticancer properties of some important phytochemicals like crocetin, cyanidins, diindolylmethane (DIM) or indole-3-carbinol (I3C), epigallocatechin gallate, fisetin, genistein, gingerol, kaempferol, broccoli, and lycopene have also been discussed.


Antioxidants Chemical compounds Drugs Free radicals Phytochemicals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gulrez Nizami
    • 1
  • R. Z. Sayyed
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryMohammad Ali Jauhar UniversityRampurIndia
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyPSGVP Mandal’s Arts, Science and Commerce CollegeShahadaIndia

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