Polyphenols, found abundantly in plants, display many anticarcinogenic properties including their inhibitory effects on cancer cell proliferation, tumor growth, angiogenesis, metastasis, and inflammation as well as inducing apoptosis. In addition, they can modulate immune system response and protect normal cells against free radicals damage. Most investigations on anticancer mechanisms of polyphenols were conducted with individual compounds. However, several studies, including ours, have indicated that anti-cancer efficacy and scope of action can be further enhanced by combining them synergistically with chemically similar or different compounds. While most studies investigated the anti-cancer effects of combinations of two or three compounds, we used more comprehensive mixtures of specific polyphenols and mixtures of polyphenols with vitamins, amino acids and other micronutrients. The mixture containing quercetin, curcumin, green tea, cruciferex, and resveratrol (PB) demonstrated significant inhibition of the growth of Fanconi anemia head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and dose-dependent inhibition of cell proliferation, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 secretion, cell migration and invasion through Matrigel. PB was found effective in inhibition of fibrosarcoma HT-1080 and melanoma A2058 cell proliferation, MMP-2 and -9 expression, invasion through Matrigel and inducing apoptosis, important parameters for cancer prevention. A combination of polyphenols (quercetin and green tea extract) with vitamin C, amino acids and other micronutrients (EPQ) demonstrated significant suppression of ovarian cancer ES-2 xenograft tumor growth and suppression of ovarian tumor growth and lung metastasis from IP injection of ovarian cancer A-2780 cells. The EPQ mixture without quercetin (NM) also has shown potent anticancer activity in vivo and in vitro in a few dozen cancer cell lines by inhibiting tumor growth and metastasis, MMP-2 and -9 secretion, invasion, angiogenesis, and cell growth as well as induction of apoptosis. The presence of vitamin C, amino acids and other micronutrients could enhance inhibitory effect of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on secretion of MMPs. In addition, enrichment of NM with quercetin (EPQ mix) enhanced anticancer activity of NM in vivo. In conclusion, polyphenols, especially in combination with other polyphenols or micronutrients, have been shown to be effective against multiple targets in cancer development and progression, and should be considered as safe and effective approaches in cancer prevention and therapy.
Keywords: Matrigel invasion; metastasis; polyphenols; tumor growth.