The natural product class of triterpenic acids is comprised of several highly active pharmacological structures. Recently, interest in these compounds has greatly increased due to the selective mode-of-action (MOA) and potential as anticancer agents. Additionally, these complex structures are widely spread in the plant kingdom, and thus economically accessible. After extraction and chemical separation of the starting material, manifold chemical modifications were realized in a systematic way. The compounds were then structurally characterized; their cytotoxic profiles were tested via the SRB-assay and submitted to structure-activity studies. In combination with additional biological investigations a detailed picture of the MOA was produced. Shown herein are chemical modifications of triterpenic acids, which resulted in finding significant differences between the cytotoxicity and unique MOAs in relation to the structure. Furthermore, a complete mechanism for one compound was postulated and validated.