Emerging role of terpenoids for the treatment of cancer: A review

Bhawna Chopra, Ashwani Kumar Dhingra, Kanaya Lal Dhar, Kunal Nepali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Terpenes are natural compounds found in several organisms belonging to the animal and plant kingdom, therefore, constitute the largest class of natural products and were a rich reservoir of candidate compounds for drug discovery. The review aims to focus on the extensive potential of the anti-cancer terpenoid components obtained from natural plant species which may lead to the development of a variety of derived terpenoids moieties. Method: Literature survey has been carried out to determine the potential of terpenoids. Result: The present article provides an overview of the development of the isoprene unit and the generation of the various types of terpenes that exhibits pharmacological potential. The anti-cancer activity of terpenoids appears promising and will potentially open more opportunities for cancer therapy. However, current studies are restricted to descriptive findings and some of them lack mechanistic insights and systematic structure--activity relationship studies. Future efforts into the systematic identification of the targets of terpenoids are believed to increase the chances of gaining breakthrough insights in the field. Conclusion: There is still hope that new therapeutic options for the control of cancer and any other painful syndromes will be developed from terpenes, which were proved to be great candidates for cancer therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2300-2336
Number of pages37
JournalMini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Biological activity
  • Cancer
  • History
  • Isoprene
  • Pathology
  • Terpenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Cancer Research


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