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Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2019 Jul 4. doi: 10.2174/1871520619666190704111714. [Epub ahead of print]

Natural Compounds Targeting Cancer Stem Cells: A Promising Resource for Chemotherapy.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205. Bangladesh.
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane. Australia.



Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) are the subpopulation of cancer cells which are directly involved in drug resistance, metastases to distant organ and cancer recurrence.


A systemic literature search was conducted through various electronic databases including, Pubmed, Scopus, Google scholars using the keywords "cancer stem cells" and "natural compounds" in the present study. Articles published between 1999 and 2019 were reviewed. All the expositions concerning CSCs associated cancer pathogenesis and therapy resistance, as well as targeting these properties of CSCs by natural compounds were selected for the current study.


Natural compounds have always been thought as rich source of biologically active principles, which target aberrantly activated signaling pathways and other modalities of CSCs, while tethering painful side effects commonly involved in the first-line and second-line chemo-radiotherapies. In this review, we have described the key signaling pathways activated in CSCs to maintain their survival and highlighted how natural compounds interrupt these signaling pathways to minimize therapy resistance, pathogenesis and cancer recurrence properties of CSCs, thereby providing useful strategies to treat cancer or aid in cancer therapy improvement. Like normal stem cells, CSCs rely on different signaling pathways and other properties for their maintenance. Therefore, success of cancer treatment depends on the development of proper anti-neoplastic drugs capable of intercepting those signaling pathways as well as other properties of CSCs in order to eradicate this evasive subpopulation of cancer cells.


Compounds of natural origin might act as an outstanding source to design novel therapies against cancer stem cells.


Natural compounds; cancer stem cells; cancer therapy; pathogenesis; signaling pathways; therapy resistance

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