Indole phytoalexins from crucifers have been shown to exhibit significant anti-cancer, chemopreventive, and antiproliferative activity. Phytoalexins are natural low molecular antimicrobial compounds that are synthesized and accumulated in plants after their exposure to pathogenic microorganisms. Most interestingly, crucifers appear to be the only plant family producing sulfur-containing indole phytoalexins. The mechanisms underlying its anti-cancer properties are unknown. Isolation from cruciferous plants does not provide sufficient quantities of indole phytoalexins and, for biological screening, they are usually obtainable through synthesis. Understanding the molecular mechanism of the action of these substances and their structure-activity relationships is quite important in the development of new analogs with a more favorable profile of biological activities. In this review, we present the key features of indole phytoalexins, mainly their antiproliferative ativities.
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