Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Oncology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 214186, 18 pages
Review Article

Anticancer Drugs from Marine Flora: An Overview

Center of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University, Parangipettai 608 502, Tamil Nadu, India

Received 30 August 2010; Accepted 29 November 2010

Academic Editor: Dominic Fan

Copyright © 2010 N. Sithranga Boopathy and K. Kathiresan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Marine floras, such as bacteria, actinobacteria, cyanobacteria, fungi, microalgae, seaweeds, mangroves, and other halophytes are extremely important oceanic resources, constituting over 90% of the oceanic biomass. They are taxonomically diverse, largely productive, biologically active, and chemically unique offering a great scope for discovery of new anticancer drugs. The marine floras are rich in medicinally potent chemicals predominantly belonging to polyphenols and sulphated polysaccharides. The chemicals have displayed an array of pharmacological properties especially antioxidant, immunostimulatory, and antitumour activities. The phytochemicals possibly activate macrophages, induce apoptosis, and prevent oxidative damage of DNA, thereby controlling carcinogenesis. In spite of vast resources enriched with chemicals, the marine floras are largely unexplored for anticancer lead compounds. Hence, this paper reviews the works so far conducted on this aspect with a view to provide a baseline information for promoting the marine flora-based anticancer research in the present context of increasing cancer incidence, deprived of the cheaper, safer, and potent medicines to challenge the dreadful human disease.