Send to

Choose Destination
Med Res Rev. 2016 Jan;36(1):119-43. doi: 10.1002/med.21346. Epub 2015 Mar 27.

Therapeutic Potential of Steroidal Alkaloids in Cancer and Other Diseases.

Author information

Department of Cell Biology & Institute of Biomedicine, National Engineering Research Center of Genetic Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Bioengineering Medicine, College of Life Science and Technology, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 510632, Guangdong, China.
State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macau, 519000, China.
Chemical Biology Center, Lishui Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Lishui, 323000, Zhejiang, China.
Department of Natural Products Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China.


Steroidal alkaloids are a class of secondary metabolites isolated from plants, amphibians, and marine invertebrates. Evidence accumulated in the recent two decades demonstrates that steroidal alkaloids have a wide range of bioactivities including anticancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, etc., suggesting their great potential for application. It is therefore necessary to comprehensively summarize the bioactivities, especially anticancer activities and mechanisms of steroidal alkaloids. Here we systematically highlight the anticancer profiles both in vitro and in vivo of steroidal alkaloids such as dendrogenin, solanidine, solasodine, tomatidine, cyclopamine, and their derivatives. Furthermore, other bioactivities of steroidal alkaloids are also discussed. The integrated molecular mechanisms in this review can increase our understanding on the utilization of steroidal alkaloids and contribute to the development of new drug candidates. Although the therapeutic potentials of steroidal alkaloids look promising in the preclinical and clinical studies, further pharmacokinetic and clinical studies are mandated to define their efficacy and safety in cancer and other diseases.


anticancer effects; apoptosis; bioactivities; steroidal alkaloids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center