Endophytic fungi-alternative sources of cytotoxic compounds: A review

Fazilath Uzma, Chakrabhavi D. Mohan, Abeer Hashem, Narasimha M. Konappa, Shobith Rangappa, Praveen V. Kamath, Bhim P. Singh, Venkataramana Mudili, Vijai K. Gupta, Chandra N. Siddaiah*, Srinivas Chowdappa, Abdulaziz A. Alqarawi, Elsayed F. Abd-Allah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is a major cause of death worldwide, with an increasing number of cases being reported annually. The elevated rate of mortality necessitates a global challenge to explore newer sources of anticancer drugs. Recent advancements in cancer treatment involve the discovery and development of new and improved chemotherapeutics derived from natural or synthetic sources. Natural sources offer the potential of finding new structural classes with unique bioactivities for cancer therapy. Endophytic fungi represent a rich source of bioactive metabolites that can be manipulated to produce desirable novel analogs for chemotherapy. This review offers a current and integrative account of clinically used anticancer drugs such as taxol, podophyllotoxin, camptothecin, and vinca alkaloids in terms of their mechanism of action, isolation from endophytic fungi and their characterization, yield obtained, and fungal strain improvement strategies. It also covers recent literature on endophytic fungal metabolites from terrestrial, mangrove, and marine sources as potential anticancer agents and emphasizes the findings for cytotoxic bioactive compounds tested against specific cancer cell lines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number309
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberAPR
Early online date26 Apr 2018
Publication statusPrint publication - 26 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer agents
  • Bioactive metabolites
  • Camptothecin
  • Fungal alkaloids
  • Natural compounds
  • Podophyllotoxin
  • Taxol
  • Vinca alkaloids


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