Cell signaling pathways altered by natural chemopreventive agents

Mutat Res. 2004 Nov 2;555(1-2):53-64. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2004.04.015.


Epidemiological studies have indicated a significant difference in the incidence of cancers among ethnic groups, who have different lifestyles and have been exposed to different environmental factors. It has been estimated that more than two-thirds of human cancers, which are contributed by mutations in multiple genes, could be prevented by modification of lifestyle including dietary modification. The consumption of fruits, soybean and vegetables has been associated with reduced risk of several types of cancers. The in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that some dietary components such as isoflavones, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), curcumin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), apigenin, etc., have shown inhibitory effects on human and animal cancers, suggesting that they may serve as chemopreventive agents. Experimental studies have also revealed that these components regulate the molecules in the cell signal transduction pathways including NF-kappaB, Akt, MAPK, p53, AR, and ER pathways. By modulating cell signaling pathways, these components, among other mechanisms, activate cell death signals and induce apoptosis in precancerous or cancer cells, resulting in the inhibition of cancer development and/or progression. This article reviews current studies regarding the effects of natural chemopreventive agents on cancer-related cell signaling pathways and provides comprehensive knowledge of the biological and molecular roles of chemopreventive agents in cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Chemoprevention
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents