Plant flavonoids in cancer chemoprevention: role in genome stability.
J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Nov 28 ;45:1-14. Epub 2016 Nov 28. PMID: 27951449
Vazhappilly Cijo George
Carcinogenesis is a multistage process that involves a series of events comprising of genetic and epigenetic changes leading to the initiation, promotion and progression of cancer. Chemoprevention is referred to as the use of nontoxic natural compounds, synthetic chemicals or their combinations to intervene in multistage carcinogenesis. Chemoprevention through diet modification, i.e., increased consumption of plant-based food, has emerged as a most promising and potentially cost-effective approach to reducing the risk of cancer. Flavonoids are naturally occurring polyphenols that are ubiquitous in plant-based food such as fruits, vegetables and teas as well as in most medicinal plants. Over 10,000 flavonoids have been characterized over the last few decades. Flavonoids comprise of several subclasses including flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, flavanones, flavones, isoflavones and proanthocyanidins. This review describes the most efficacious plant flavonoids, including luteolin, epigallocatechin gallate, quercetin, apigenin and chrysin; their hormetic effects; and the molecular basis of how these flavonoids contribute to the chemoprevention with a focus on protection against DNA damage caused by various carcinogenic factors. The present knowledge on the role of flavonoids in chemoprevention can be used in developing effective dietary strategies and natural health products targeted for cancer chemoprevention.