IMR Press / FBL / Volume 27 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.31083/j.fbl2706192
Open Access Review
The Role and Mechanisms of Action of Natural Compounds in the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer and Cancer Metastasis
Yunqiao Wang1,†Mingtai Chen1,2,†Hao Yu1,†Gang Yuan1,3,†Li Luo4Xiongfei Xu1,5Yanneng Xu1,3Xinbing Sui6,7,*Elaine Lai-Han Leung8,*Qibiao Wu1,9,10,*
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1 Faculty of Chinese Medicine and State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, 999078 Macau, China
2 Department of Cardiovascular Disease, Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, 518020 Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
3 Department of Intervention, Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital Affiliated to Southwest Medical University, 646000 Luzhou, Sichuan, China
4 Education Evaluation and Faculty Development Center, Guangxi Medical University, 530021 Nanning, Guangxi, China
5 Department of Vascular Surgery, The Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical University, 646000 Luzhou, Sichuan, China
6 College of Pharmacy, Hangzhou Normal University, 310030 Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
7 Department of Medical Oncology, The Affiliated Hospital of Hangzhou Normal University, College of Medicine, Hangzhou Normal University, 310030 Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
8 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Taipa, 999078 Macau, China
9 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Joint Laboratory for Contaminants Exposure and Health, 510000 Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
10 Zhuhai MUST Science and Technology Research Institute, 51900 Zhuhai, Guangdong, China
*Correspondence: (Qibiao Wu); (Elaine Lai-Han Leung); (Xinbing Sui)
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editors: Antonio Barbieri and Francesca Bruzzese
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2022, 27(6), 192;
Submitted: 2 April 2022 | Revised: 13 May 2022 | Accepted: 26 May 2022 | Published: 15 June 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights against Cancer Progression and Metastasis)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Cancer has emerged as one of the world’s most concerning health problems. The progression and metastasis mechanisms of cancer are complex, including metabolic disorders, oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, and intestinal microflora disorders. These pose significant challenges to our efforts to prevent and treat cancer and its metastasis. Natural drugs have a long history of use in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Many effective anti-tumor drugs, such as Paclitaxel, Vincristine, and Camptothecin, have been widely prescribed for the prevention and treatment of cancer. In recent years, a trend in the field of antitumor drug development has been to screen the active antitumor ingredients from natural drugs and conduct in-depth studies on the mechanisms of their antitumor activity. In this review, high-frequency keywords included in the literature of several common Chinese and English databases were analyzed. The results showed that five Chinese herbal medicines (Radix Salviae, Panax Ginseng C. A. Mey, Hedysarum Multijugum Maxim, Ganoderma, and Curcumaelongae Rhizoma) and three natural compounds (quercetin, luteolin, and kaempferol) were most commonly used for the prevention and treatment of cancer and cancer metastasis. The main mechanisms of action of these active compounds in tumor-related research were summarized. Finally, we found that four natural compounds (dihydrotanshinone, sclareol, isoimperatorin, and girinimbin) have recently attracted the most attention in the field of anti-cancer research. Our findings provide some inspiration for future research on natural compounds against tumors and new insights into the role and mechanisms of natural compounds in the prevention and treatment of cancer and cancer metastasis.

Chinese medicine
bioactive compounds
molecular mechanisms
Fig. 1.
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