Osteosarcoma is the most frequent type of bone cancer found in children and adolescents, and commonly arises in the metaphyseal region of tubular long bones. Standard therapeutic approaches, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, are used in the management of osteosarcoma. In recent years, the mortality rate of osteosarcoma has decreased due to advances in treatment methods. Today, the scientific community is investigating the use of different naturally derived active principles against various types of cancer. Natural bioactive compounds can function against cancer cells in two ways. Firstly they can act as classical cytotoxic compounds by non-specifically affecting macromolecules, such as DNA, enzymes, and microtubules, which are also expressed in normal proliferating cells, but to a greater extent by cancer cells. Secondly, they can act against oncogenic signal transduction pathways, many of which are activated in cancer cells. Some bioactive plant-derived agents are gaining increasing attention because of their anti-cancer properties. Moreover, some naturally-derived compounds can significantly promote the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy drugs, and in certain cases are able to ameliorate drug-induced adverse effects caused by chemotherapy. In the present review we summarize the effects of various naturally-occurring bioactive compounds against osteosarcoma.
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