Punica granatum has a recorded history of pharmacological properties which can be attributed to its rich reservoir of phytochemicals. Investigations in recent years have established its tremendous potential as an antitumorogenic agent against various cancers including breast cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. The plausible role of Punica as a therapeutic agent, as an adjuvant in chemotherapy, and its dietary implications as chemopreventive agent in breast cancer have been explored. Mechanistic studies have revealed that Punica extracts and its components, individually or in combination, can modulate and target key proteins and genes involved in breast cancer. Our earlier finding also demonstrated the role of methanolic extract of pomegranate pericarp in reducing proliferation in breast cancer by binding to estrogen receptor at the same time not affecting uterine weight unlike estradiol or tamoxifen. This review analyses other plausible mechanisms of Punica in preventing the progression of breast cancer and how it can possibly be a therapeutic agent by acting at various steps of carcinogenesis including proliferation, invasion, migration, metastasis, angiogenesis, and inflammation via various molecular mechanisms.
Keywords: Punica granatum; adjuvant; angiogenesis; breast cancer; invasion; phytochemicals; phytoestrogens; proliferation.
© 2015 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.