Molecular mechanisms of anticancer activity of natural dietetic products

J Mol Med (Berl). 2000;78(6):333-6. doi: 10.1007/s001090000121.


The efficiency of dietetic supplements in cancer prevention and treatment is a popular and controversial subject of research. New in vitro and in vivo research results indicate that some dietetic supplements do indeed show anticancer activity. The strongest anticancer action has been demonstrated by natural compounds with multifunctional activity. For instance, antioxidants, which also bind to and modulate the activity of protein kinases involved in signal transduction cascades show both cytostatic and cytotoxic activity towards cancer cells. Other activities such as angiogenesis inhibition, nitric oxide synthase inhibition, and pro-oxidants production have also been observed. Catechins and polyphenols from plant extracts such as green tea show the strongest anticancer activity. The initial clinical trials with some flavonoid molecules are already underway.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 8
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 8
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases