Withaferin A: A Pleiotropic Anticancer Agent from the Indian Medicinal Plant Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal

Suneel Kumar, Stephen O. Mathew, Ravindra Prasad Aharwal, Hardeep Singh Tulli, Chakrabhavi Dhananjaya Mohan, Gautam Sethi, Kwang Seok Ahn, Kassidy Webber, Sardul Singh Sandhu, Anupam Bishayee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cancer represents the second most deadly disease and one of the most important public health concerns worldwide. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immune therapy are the major types of treatment strategies that have been implemented in cancer treatment. Unfortunately, these treatment options suffer from major limitations, such as drug-resistance and adverse effects, which may eventually result in disease recurrence. Many phytochemicals have been investigated for their antitumor efficacy in preclinical models and clinical studies to discover newer therapeutic agents with fewer adverse effects. Withaferin A, a natural bioactive molecule isolated from the Indian medicinal plant Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal, has been reported to impart anticancer activities against various cancer cell lines and preclinical cancer models by modulating the expression and activity of different oncogenic proteins. In this article, we have comprehensively discussed the biosynthesis of withaferin A as well as its antineoplastic activities and mode-of-action in in vitro and in vivo settings. We have also reviewed the effect of withaferin A on the expression of miRNAs, its combinational effect with other cytotoxic agents, withaferin A-based formulations, safety and toxicity profiles, and its clinical potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • angiogenesis
  • apoptosis
  • cancer
  • chemoresistance
  • formulations
  • withaferin A


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