Anticancer Mechanisms of Bioactive Compounds from Solanaceae: An Update

David O. Nkwe, Bonolo Lotshwao, Gaolatlhe Rantong, James Matshwele, Kwape Tebogo, Kabo Masisi, Goabaone Gaobotse, Kathleen Hefferon, Makhzoum Abdullah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Plants continue to provide unlimited pharmacologically active compounds that can treat various illnesses, including cancer. The Solanaceae family, besides providing economically important food plants, such as potatoes and tomatoes, has been exploited extensively in folk medicine, as it provides an array of bioactive compounds. Many studies have demonstrated the anticancer potency of some of the compounds, but the corresponding molecular targets are not well defined. However, advances in molecular cell biology and in silico modelling have made it possible to dissect some of the underlying mechanisms. By reviewing the literature over the last five years, we provide an update on anticancer mechanisms associated with phytochemicals isolated from species in the Solanaceae plant family. These mechanisms are conveniently grouped into cell cycle arrest, transcription regulation, modulation of autophagy, inhibition of signalling pathways, suppression of metabolic enzymes, and membrane disruption. The majority of the bioactive compounds exert their antiproliferative effects by inhibiting diverse signalling pathways, as well as arresting the cell cycle. Furthermore, some of the phytochemicals are effective against more than one cancer type. Therefore, understanding these mechanisms provides paths for future formulation of novel anticancer drugs, as well as highlighting potential areas of research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4989
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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