Role of Capsaicin in Cancer Prevention

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Abstract

One of the aims of current cancer prevention research is to find non-toxic agents that can prevent and /or suppress the growth of cancer cells. In this regard, capsaicin, a main constituent of hot chili peppers, has garnered a great deal of attention as a chemo-preventive agent against cancer. In this book chapter capsaicin is discussed as a potent anti-cancer agent in different models, including pancreatic, prostate, lung, breast, colon, brain, hepatic, bladder, skin and stomach cancers. Investigators have shown that the anti-cancer effect of capsaicin results from modulation of key signaling molecules in major signaling pathways such as stress, cell cycle, mitochondrial dysfunction and ER-stress. Furthermore, capsaicin has proven effective in vivo in the animal models of various types of cancer. Overall findings on capsaicin suggest that capsaicin is a promising agent for the treatment of various types of cancer that nonetheless requires further clinical studies. This chapter focuses on the chemo-preventive efficacy of capsaicin in various types of cancer models.