Affiliation: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, University of Hawaii at Hilo, 34 Rainbow Drive, Hilo, HI 96720, USA.
Cancer is a leading cause of mortality worldwide, being responsible for millions of deaths annually. Therefore, novel cancer chemotherapeutic agents are urgently needed to combat this devastating disease. β - Carboline alkaloids are an important class of natural products and medicinal molecules, which exert their anticancer activities through diverse mechanisms. In this review, we cover recent natural and synthetic β - carbolines with anticancer activity that have been reported in the literature (2010-July 2014), focusing on their chemical structures, anticancer properties, structure-activity relationships, and mechanisms of action.