Extending over decades, research has been of great focus and enormous progress on exploring the ocean for natural products from marine actinobacteria. Attraction towards alternative medicine has led to improvements in natural product discovery. With great potential to survive in extreme environments, marine actinobacteria, efficiently produce an array of metabolites with diverse bioactivity by evolving the secondary metabolic pathways. Exploiting the secondary metabolite producing potential of actinobacteria, many compounds with antitumor, antibacterial, antifungal, antimalarial, antiprotozoal, antiparasitic, antiviral, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory activities has been discovered. Efforts in bioprospecting alternative sources of natural products have thus led to several explorations and improvements in technologies which has decreased the bottle neck difficulties in the drug discovery process. Emphasizing on the recent advancements in bioactive compound production in actinobacteria, this paper comprises a review of the available literature, compiles the antitumor compounds from marine actinobacteria with brief discussions and the perspectives to develop better antitumor compounds which would stimulate further research. © 2016 Instituto de Tecnologia do Parana.