Cancer is a complex disease to treat and the treatments have not progressed significantly in the last few years. Alternative strategies such as chemoprevention are being investigated. Proof of concept of chemoprevention has been shown with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); however there is significantly more interest in plant and naturally available compounds for chemoprevention. A number of different naturally occurring chemical compounds are reviewed here for their potential benefits and the pathways which they may target, in particular the polyamine pathway. 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.