Dietary Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Volume 401 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 35-50

Cancer Chemoprevention by Polyphenols in Green Tea and Artichoke

  • Rajesh AgarwalAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, University Hospitals of Cleveland
  • , Hasan MukhtarAffiliated withSkin Diseases Research Center, Case Western Reserve University

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Cancer is a major disease accounting for over 7 million deaths per year worldwide.1 Though recent advances in cancer diagnosis, its early detection, and therapy have improved the quality of life for cancer patients, there is little, if any, effect on the mortality rates for most cancers. To reduce cancer related deaths, four strategies are possible. These include: early diagnosis and intervention, improved management of non-localized cancers, successful treatment of localized cancers, and prevention of cancer occurrence in the first place. Development of successful approaches to cancer prevention appears the most practical strategy for reduction in cancer related deaths. One approach is “chemoprevention” in which the progress of this disease can be slowed, completely blocked or reversed by the administration of one or more naturally occurring or synthetic chemical agents. It is increasingly appreciated that an ideal cancer chemopreventive agent for human use must fulfill the following criteria: little or no toxic effects, high efficacy against multiple sites, capability of oral consumption, a known mechanism of action, low cost, and human acceptability. In recent years, considerable efforts have been directed to identify agents that may have the ability to inhibit, retard or reverse one or more stages of multistage carcinogenesis, which is comprised of initiation, promotion and progression.2–4 Since cancer usually evolves in a prolonged manner, agents that inhibit or retard one or more of these stages could affect the overall cancer induction. In this context, a few naturally occurring micronutrients present in human diets have been found to possess potent cancer chemopreventive effects.5-11