Use of dietary phytochemicals to target inflammation, fibrosis, proliferation, and angiogenesis in uterine tissues: promising options for prevention and treatment of uterine fibroids?

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Aug;58(8):1667-84. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400134. Epub 2014 Jun 30.


Uterine leiomyomas (fibroids, myomas) are the most common benign tumors of female reproductive tract. They are highly prevalent, with 70-80% of women burdened by the end of their reproductive years. Fibroids are a leading cause of pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pressure on the bladder, miscarriage, and infertility. They are the leading indication for hysterectomy, and costs exceed 6 billion dollars annually in the United States. Unfortunately, no long-term medical treatments are available. Dysregulation of inflammatory processes are thought to be involved in the initiation of leiomyoma and extracellular matrix deposition, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis are the key cellular events implicated in leiomyoma growth. In modern pharmaceutical industries, dietary phytochemicals are used as source of new potential drugs for many kinds of tumors. Dietary phytochemicals may exert therapeutic effects by interfering with key cellular events of the tumorigenesis process. At present, a negligible number of phytochemicals have been tested as therapeutic agents against fibroids. In this context, our aim was to introduce some of the potential dietary phytochemicals that have shown anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antifibrotic, and antiangiogenic activities in different biological systems. This review could be useful to stimulate the evaluation of these phytochemicals as possible therapies for uterine fibroids.

Keywords: Antifibrotic; Antiproliferative; Dietary phytochemicals; Inflammation; Uterine fibroid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Leiomyoma / diet therapy
  • Leiomyoma / immunology
  • Leiomyoma / physiopathology
  • Leiomyoma / prevention & control*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / etiology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use*
  • Uterus / blood supply
  • Uterus / cytology
  • Uterus / immunology*
  • Uterus / pathology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Phytochemicals