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The degenerate transfer of xanthates allows generally difficult radical transformations, such as intermolecular additions to unactivated alkenes and cyclisations onto aromatic and heteroaromatic rings, to be accomplished under very practical experimental conditions. This translates into numerous approaches for the construction or modification of heteroaromatic structures. The present report aims to provide a brief overview of the various synthetic possibilities, with particular emphasis on medicinally interesting families of compounds.