Quercetin: a pleiotropic kinase inhibitor against cancer

Cancer Treat Res. 2014;159:185-205. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-38007-5_11.


Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables can represent an easy strategy to significantly reduce the incidence of cancer. From this observation, derived mostly from epidemiological data, the new field of chemoprevention has emerged in the primary and secondary prevention of cancer. Chemoprevention is defined as the use of natural or synthetic compounds able to stop, reverse, or delay the process of tumorigenesis in its early stages. A large number of phytochemicals are potentially capable of simultaneously inhibiting and modulating several key factors regulating cell proliferation in cancer cells. Quercetin is a flavonoid possessing potential chemopreventive properties. It is a functionally pleiotropic molecule, possessing multiple intracellular targets, affecting different cell signaling processes usually altered in cancer cells, with limited toxicity on normal cells. Simultaneously targeting multiple pathways may help to kill malignant cells and slow down the onset of drug resistance. Among the different substrates triggered by quercetin, we have reviewed the ability of the molecule to inhibit protein kinases involved in deregulated cell growth in cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quercetin