Over the years, nutrition and environmental factors have been demonstrated to influence human health, specifically cancer. Owing to the fact that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, efforts are being made to elucidate molecular mechanisms that trigger or delay carcinogenesis. Phytochemicals, in particular, have been shown to modulate oncogenic processes through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and their ability to mimic the chemical structure and activity of hormones. These compounds can act not only by influencing oncogenic proteins, but also by modulating noncoding RNAs such as microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs. Although we are only beginning to understand the complete effects of many natural compounds, such as phytochemicals, researchers are motivated to combine these agents with traditional, chemo-based, or hormone-based therapies to fight against cancer. Since ongoing studies continue to prove effective, herein we exalt the importance of improving dietary choices as a chemo-preventive strategy.
Keywords: cancer; curcumin; dietary polyphenols; epigallocatechin gallate; genistein; natural compounds; noncoding RNA.