Polyalthia belong to the Annonaceae family and are a type of evergreen tree distributed across many tropical and subtropical regions. Polyalthia species have been used long term as indigenous medicine to treat certain diseases, including fever, diabetes, infection, digestive disease, etc. Recent studies have demonstrated that not only crude extracts but also the isolated pure compounds exhibit various pharmacological activities, such as anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-tumor, anti-cancer, etc. It is known that the initiation of cancer usually takes several years and is related to unhealthy lifestyle, as well as dietary and environmental factors, such as stress, toxins and smoking. In fact, natural or synthetic substances have been used as cancer chemoprevention to delay, impede, or even stop cancer growing. This review is an attempt to collect current available phytochemicals from Polyalthia species, which exhibit anti-cancer potentials for chemoprevention purposes, providing directions for further research on the interesting agents and possible clinical applications.
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