Apoptosis (programmed cell death) is an intricate process that involves multiple signaling pathways, and failure to activate apoptosis is one of the main obstacles in cancer treatment. The apoptosis resistance of cancer cells is an inherent part of the carcinogenic process, which is also associated with chemotherapy resistance. Therefore, new drugs are required to improve cytotoxicity to cancer cells without affecting normal cells. The current knowledge of apoptosis is the theoretical source for novel and effective treatments with the selective induction of apoptosis in cancer cells and augmentation of the cytotoxicity of established chemotherapeutic agents. Based on these goals of treatment for cancer, recent attention has focused on the phytochemicals as anticancer agents. For that reason, designing new anti-tumor agents must include recognizing and developing those agents that have the ability to target various genes that regulates apoptosis. There are several natural plant compounds that demonstrate anti-tumor activity, according to various mechanisms. In view of the immense medicinal importance of natural products, this review strives to compile a brief statement on the mechanisms of apoptosis and effective natural compounds that induce apoptosis through both mitochondrial and death receptor pathways.
Mohammad Firoozinia, Soheil Zorofchian Moghadamtousi, Aidin Sadeghilar, Hamed Karimian, Mohamed Ibrahim Bin Noordin