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According to World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018, cancer has become the second leading cause of death globally and responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Cancer of prostate, lung, colon and urinary bladder are prominently found in men, whereas in women, a significant number of breast, lung, colon, rectum, uterine corpus and thyroid cancer has been diagnosed. Cancer originated due to series of successive mutations in genes and because of these mutations, functions of cells can be altered. Carcinogens play a key role in cancer and gene mutations. Carcinogens like asbestos, nickel, cadmium, radon, vinyl chloride, benzidine, radiations, virus, bacteria, and alcohol causes gene mutations. Due to this reason, there are disturbances in the cell cycle that results in abnormal cellular proliferation.
As far as clinical management is concerned, heterocyclic compounds play a vital role in viral, inflammatory, and fungal diseases including cancer. There are natural drug products with potentially active chemical constituents due to their heterocyclic moieties. For instance, Artemisia absinthium L. (family: Apiaceae)and Ammi visnaga L. (family: Asteraceae) have potential anti-cancer activity. The active chemical constituents of both these plants species have heterocyclic moieties similar to synthetically derived potential anti-cancer drugs and can be considered a better alternative as compared to synthetic drugs in treatment of cancer due to safety at high dose levels.
In the present review, we summarized relevant heterocyclic compounds with anticancer activity present in Artemisia absinthium and Ammi visnaga with their mechanism involved in cancer treatment.