The aim of cancer chemoprevention is disruption or delay of the molecular pathways that lead to carcinogenesis. Chemopreventive blocking and/or suppressing agents disrupt the molecular mechanisms that drive carcinogenesis such as DNA damage by reactive oxygen species, increased signal transduction to NF-κB, epigenomic deregulation, and the epithelial mesenchymal transition that leads to metastatic progression. Numerous dietary phytochemicals have been observed to inhibit the initiation phase of carcinogenesis, and therefore are useful in primary chemoprevention. Moreover, phytochemicals are capable of interfering with the molecular mechanisms of metastasis. Likewise, numerous synthetic compounds are relevant and clinically viable as chemopreventive agents during the fundamental stages of carcinogenesis. While molecularly targeted anti-cancer therapies are in constant stages of development, superior patient outcomes are observed if carcinogenic processes are prevented altogether. This article reviews the role of chemopreventive compounds in inhibition of cancer initiation and their ability to reduce cancer progression.
Keywords: blocking agents; chemoprevention; phytochemicals; suppressing agents.