The lignans are a large group of natural substances, which occur in a range of plant species, but only in low concentrations. Aryltetralin lignans are lead substances for the semi-synthetic anticancer derivatives etoposide, teniposide and etopophos. Their natural abundance however is scarce and their chemical synthesis is not yet economically feasible. The aim of this review is to focus on recent progress of in vitro production of lignans, together with the methods of increasing the levels of desired substances in plant cell and tissue cultures in general. Experience of different authors, working worldwide on plant biotechnology, has been discussed to show positive results in experiments with optimization of cultural conditions, selection of high producing cell lines, development of differentiated and transformed cultures, influence of stress factors and feeding of precursors in plant in vitro cultures for the enhancement of production of lignans. Knowing and evaluating the results of different factors, may serve for creating a complex impact model for increasing the production of target substances of in vitro cultures.