Special Issue "Anticancer Compounds in Medicinal Plants"

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Paulo Santos
Guest Editor
Centro de Química - Vila Real, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
Interests: organic synthesis; functional dyes; structural analysis; natural products chemistry; bioactive compounds
Dr. Lillian Barros
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer, in its multiple forms, is presently one of the leading causes of death in both developing and developed countries, and it has become a major health problem and burden for most public health care systems worldwide. Although several decades of drug discovery and development have provided a number of useful chemotherapeutic agents, there is a continuous interest in the search for new chemical entities with improved anticancer effectiveness and safety.

Since ancient times, humankind has relied on herbal medicines for the treatment and prevention of a plethora of different ailments, and their beneficial properties have been recognized both by traditional medicines and more contemporary herbalism practices. Medicinal plants, which have made an important contribution to the collection of compounds that are now at our disposal for cancer therapy, constitute a reservoir of natural products able to provide new molecules with anticancer activity and new molecular frameworks capable of inspiring the design of derivatives with improved therapeutic ability. As plant-derived compounds are often not cytotoxic to normal human cells, the attention of scientific research has been increasingly driven towards natural compounds, as they may represent a source of anticancer molecules with less-toxic side effects compared to current chemotherapeutic drugs.

This Special Issue “Anticancer Compounds in Medicinal Plants” invites researchers to contribute original research or review articles related to natural compounds with anticancer properties isolated from medicinal plants. The contributions include the discovery of new compounds, the in vitro and in vivo assessment of the anticancer properties of compounds derived from medicinal plants, as well as the elucidation of their mechanisms of action and the design of derivatives with improved efficacy.

Prof. Paulo Santos
Dr. Lillian Barros
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmaceuticals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Natural products
  • Phytochemicals
  • Cancer
  • Secondary metabolites
  • Medicinal plants

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench: Chemical Characterization and Bioactivity of Its Extracts and Fractions
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(6), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13060125 - 20 Jun 2020
Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench is widely known for its medicinal properties, being one of the most used medicinal plants for its immunostimulant properties. Nevertheless, there is still scarce information on its cytotoxic activity. Thus, this study aims at evaluating the cytotoxicity and antimicrobial [...] Read more.
Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench is widely known for its medicinal properties, being one of the most used medicinal plants for its immunostimulant properties. Nevertheless, there is still scarce information on its cytotoxic activity. Thus, this study aims at evaluating the cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity of several aqueous and organic extracts of the aerial parts of this plant and chemically characterizing the obtained extracts. The analysis was performed by HPLC–DAD–ESI/MS. Fifteen compounds were identified; of these, seven were phenolic acids and eight were flavonoids. Non-polar compounds were evaluated by GC/MS, with a total of sixty-four compounds identified, and the most abundant groups were the sterols, fatty acids and long-chain hydrocarbons. The highest antimicrobial activity was exhibited by the dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, and acetone extracts. Dichloromethane and n-hexane extracts showed the highest cytotoxic activity. Therefore, they were fractionated, and the obtained fractions were also assessed for their cytotoxicity. Notwithstanding, the cytotoxicity of the extracts was superior to that of the obtained fractions, evidencing a possible synergistic effect of different compounds in the whole extracts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Compounds in Medicinal Plants)
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