Halophyte Plants as Potential Sources of Anticancer Agents: A Comprehensive Review

Luísa Custodio, Pedro Garcia-Caparros, Catarina Guerreiro Pereira, Pedro Castelo-Branco
2022 Pharmaceutics  
Salt-tolerant plants (halophytes) are widely distributed worldwide in several environments such as coastal salt marshes, sand dunes, and inland deserts. To cope with the harsh conditions that characterize those habitats, which include high salinity and radiation levels, such plants have developed morphological and physiological traits, the latter including the synthesis and accumulation of important secondary metabolites such as alkaloids and polyphenols. While essential in maintaining plant
more » ... eostasis, these compounds are highly valued in the medical field for the treatment of several human diseases, including cancer. Cancer is one of the most life-threatening disorders worldwide, which accentuates the need to improve current cancer therapies and minimize potential adverse secondary side-effects. In this context, the pharmacological evaluation of natural compounds has attracted growing interest since nature has already provided some important anti-cancer drugs. This review compiles, for the first time, research regarding the anticancer activity of halophytes from different families, including, whenever possible, the bioactive molecules involved in such therapeutical properties along with possible mechanisms of action. The introduction section provides some pertinent information regarding cancer and a summary of the most important characteristics of halophytes. The next section gives information regarding the in vitro and in vivo cytotoxic properties of several halophyte species, grouped by families, including contents in bioactive metabolites and proposed modes of action, if possible. Lastly, the conclusion presents the most relevant metabolites and/or promising species and extracts that could be further explored in anticancer drug research.
doi:10.3390/pharmaceutics14112406 pmid:36365224 pmcid:PMC9694366 fatcat:qtcod7l2dbhyrjxtkmglnvjtku