There is much epidemiological evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables could lower the risk of certain cancers. The effect has been attributed, in part, to natural polyphenols. Besides, numerous studies have demonstrated that natural polyphenols could be used for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Potential mechanisms included antioxidant, anti-inflammation as well as the modulation of multiple molecular events involved in carcinogenesis. The current review summarized the anticancer efficacy of major polyphenol classes (flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans and stilbenes) and discussed the potential mechanisms of action, which were based on epidemiological, in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies within the past five years.
Keywords: anti-inflammation; anticancer; antioxidant; flavonoid; polyphenol.