Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention

  • Andreas J. Gescher
  • Karen Brown
  • William P. Steward
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4564-3



Phytochemicals are molecules which occur in the plant kingdom; the prefix phyto- is used in words related to botany. Strictly speaking, the term phytochemical encompasses compounds belonging to a large range of chemical classes, from essential minerals such as selenium to large organic molecules such as plant proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which serve as nutrients. Most people would probably associate the term phytochemical with small non-nutrient organic molecules contained in edible fruits and vegetables. Representative examples of potentially cancer chemopreventive phytochemicals (with their dietary precursors in brackets) are genistein (soya), vitamin c (fruits, vegetables), β-carotene (fruits, vegetables), curcumin (curry spice turmeric), lycopene (tomatoes), and tea catechins such as epigallocatechin gallate (green tea), resveratrol (red grapes, other fruits), and apigenin (leafy vegetables) (see Fig. 1).


Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Patient Epigallocatechin Gallate Tramp Mouse 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas J. Gescher
    • 1
  • Karen Brown
    • 2
  • William P. Steward
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cancer Studies, Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention GroupUniversity of Leicester, LeicesterLeicesterUK
  2. 2.Department of Cancer StudiesUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK