Considered as the second deadliest disease globally, cancer has captured the attention of researchers who have been trying with perseverance to decode its hidden aspects, to find new prognosis methods, and to develop better and more effective treatments. Plants have continuously offered an excess of unique secondary metabolites with remarkable biological applications. Alkaloids, one of the most abundant metabolites, constitute a large conglomerate of basic heterocyclic nitrogen-containing natural compounds which are normally produced by plants as toxic substances. Out of the 27,000 different alkaloids, more than 17,000 have displayed diversified pharmacological properties including anticancer activities. These metabolites have been classified either according to their chemical structures or their taxonomic origin. None of the researched alkaloids have been classified according to their molecular mechanism of action against cancer. In fact, only a fraction of the tremendous number of anticancer alkaloids has been copiously mentioned in journals. Here, we aim to provide a summary of the literature on some of the promising anticancer alkaloids that have not been well discussed previously and to classify them according to their molecular mechanisms of action. This review will provide a better understanding of the anticancer mechanisms of these promising natural products that are a rich reservoir for drug discovery.
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