Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 483–502

Phytochemicals: cancer chemoprevention and suppression of tumor onset and metastasis


DOI: 10.1007/s10555-010-9239-y

Cite this article as:
Shu, L., Cheung, KL., Khor, T.O. et al. Cancer Metastasis Rev (2010) 29: 483. doi:10.1007/s10555-010-9239-y


Carcinogenesis is a multi-step process which could be prevented by phytochemicals. Phytochemicals from dietary plants and other plant sources such as herbs are becoming increasingly important sources of anticancer drugs or compounds for cancer chemoprevention or adjuvant chemotherapy. Phytochemicals can prevent cancer initiation, promotion, and progression by exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress effects which are mediated by integrated Nrf2, NF-κB, and AP-1 signaling pathways. In addition, phytochemicals from herbal medicinal plants and/or some dietary plants developed in recent years have been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells and inhibition of tumor growth in vivo. In advanced tumors, a series of changes involving critical signaling molecules that would drive tumor cells undergoing epithelial–mesenchymal transition and becoming invasive. In this review, we will discuss the potential molecular targets and signaling pathways that mediate tumor onset and metastasis. In addition, we will shed light on some of the phytochemicals that are capable of targeting these signaling pathways which would make them potentially applicable to cancer chemoprevention, treatment and control of cancer progression.


Phytochemicals Herbs Cancer chemoprevention Metastasis Molecular targets 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Cancer Prevention Research, Department of Pharmaceutics, Ernest-Mario School of PharmacyRutgers, The State University of New JerseyPiscatawayUSA
  2. 2.Department of Food Science and Nutrition, The College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource SciencesUniversity of Minnesota, Twin CitiesSt PaulUSA

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