Ursolic Acid Analogs as Potential Therapeutics for Cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Ursolic acid (UA) is a pentacyclic triterpene isolated from a large variety of vegetables, fruits and many traditional medicinal plants. It is a structural isomer of Oleanolic Acid. The medicinal application of UA has been explored extensively over the last two decades. The diverse pharmacological properties of UA include anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, etc. Especially, UA holds a promising position, potentially, as a cancer preventive and therapeutic agent due to its relatively non-toxic properties against normal cells but its antioxidant and antiproliferative activities against cancer cells. Cell culture studies have shown interference of UA with multiple pharmacological and molecular targets that play a critical role in many cells signaling pathways. Although UA is considered a privileged natural product, its clinical applications are limited due to its low absorption through the gastro-intestinal track and rapid elimination. The low bioavailability of UA limits its use as a therapeutic drug. To overcome these drawbacks and utilize the importance of the scaffold, many researchers have been engaged in designing and developing synthetic analogs of UA via structural modifications. This present review summarizes the synthetic UA analogs and their cytotoxic antiproliferative properties reported in the last two decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8981
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • anticancer
  • antitumor
  • cell lines
  • modifications
  • synthesis
  • ursolic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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