School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Chemotherapy is one of the prime treatment options for cancer. However, the key issues with traditional chemotherapy are recurrence of cancer, development of resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, affordability, late-stage detection, serious health consequences, and inaccessibility. Hence, there is an urgent need to find innovative and cost-effective therapies that can target multiple gene products with minimal adverse reactions. Natural phytochemicals originating from plants constitute a significant proportion of the possible therapeutic agents. In this article, we reviewed the advances and the potential of Withania somnifera (WS) as an anticancer and immunomodulatory molecule. Several preclinical studies have shown the potential of WS to prevent or slow the progression of cancer originating from various organs such as the liver, cervix, breast, brain, colon, skin, lung, and prostate. WS extracts act via various pathways and provide optimum effectiveness against drug resistance in cancer. However, stability, bioavailability, and target specificity are major obstacles in combination therapy and have limited their application. The novel nanotechnology approaches enable solubility, stability, absorption, protection from premature degradation in the body, and increased circulation time and invariably results in a high differential uptake efficiency in the phytochemical's target cells. The present review primarily emphasizes the insights of WS source, chemistry, and the molecular pathways involved in tumor regression, as well as developments achieved in the delivery of WS for cancer therapy using nanotechnology. This review substantiates WS as a potential immunomodulatory, anticancer, and chemopreventive agent and highlights its potential use in cancer treatment.


© 2022 by the authors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title




Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department

Immunology and Microbiology



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.