Home | Articles
Published on:August 2020
Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, 2020; 54(3):496-508
Review Article | doi:10.5530/ijper.54.3.98

Caspase Activators: Phytochemicals with Apoptotic Properties Targeting Cancer, a Health Care Strategy to Combat this Disease

Authors and affiliation (s):

Asma Saqib1, Sharath Pattar2, Chandrakant Shivappa Karigar3, Shailasree Sekhar4,*

1Department of Biochemistry, Maharani’s Science College for Women, Palace Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA.

2Department of Bioinformatics, Maharani’s Science College for Women, Palace Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA.

3Department of Biochemistry, Bangalore University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, INDIA.

4Scientist, Institution of Excellence, Vijnana Bhavana, University of Mysore, Mysuru, Karnataka, INDIA.


Context: Caspases, a family of cysteine-aspartic proteases have a pivotal role in apoptotic pathways. Their down-regulation is reported to induce inappropriate cell survival and enhanced carcinogenic potential. Screening of phytochemicals with a capacity to activate caspases enhancing apoptotic capacity has been proven to be effective anticancer agents. Objectives: This review consolidates data on phtochemicals traditionally used to treat cancerous conditions. The scientific validation of caspase- activated apoptosis for this traditional application has been compiled. Methods: Internet assisted scientific literature was collected from Google, Google Scholar, Research Gate and NCI, restricted to publications from 1997 to 2019.Search terms ‘caspases and cancer’, ‘assay of caspases’, ‘traditionally used medicinal plants’, ‘Kani tribes’, ‘plant extracts activating caspase’, ‘cytotoxicity assay’, ‘docking phytochemicals to caspase’, ‘technological advancement for anticancer therapy’, ‘clinical studies of plant extracts and phytochemicals’ and ‘herbal drugs approved by FDA’ was included. Results: The compilation revealed significance of multiple experimental strategies, traditional research laboratory practices and advanced in silico molecular docking techniques in anticancer therapy. Technological advancement such as MALDI-TOF assisted phytochemical mediated protein target identification and designing promoter for caspases activation and synthesizing functionalized nano carriers for clinical studies has been included for identification of hit molecule and lead optimization. Eugenol and berberine were identified as phytochemicals with potential drug characteristics by both in silico and in vivo studies. Conclusion: The phytochemicals from important Kani tribal medicinal plants via in silico docking and in vivo studies identified could be explored at clinical trials.

Key words: Anticancer, Apoptosis-associated caspase assay, Advanced in silico techniques, NCI, Kani tribes, HeLa cell lines.



Impact Factor

IJPER - An Official Publication of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India is pleased to announce continued growth in the 2019 Release of Journal Citation Reports (source: 2018 Web of Science Data).


Impact Factor® as reported in the 2018 Journal Citation Reports® (Clarivate Analytics, 2019): 0.425

The Official Journal of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI)
(Registered under Registration of Societies Act XXI of 1860 No. 122 of 1966-1967, Lucknow)

Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (IJPER) [ISSN-0019-5464] is the official journal of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI) and is being published since 1967.


IJPER uses reference linking service using Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) by Crossref. Articles from the year 2013 are being assigned DOIs for its permanent URLs