Anti-metastatic potential of resveratrol and its metabolites by the inhibition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition, migration, and invasion of malignant cancer cells

Phytomedicine. 2016 Dec 15;23(14):1787-1796. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2016.10.016. Epub 2016 Oct 27.


Background: Increased epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cell migration and invasion abilities of cancer cells play important roles in the metastatic process of cancer. Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, a type of natural polyphenol found in the skin of grapes, berries, and peanuts. A number of experiments have examined resveratrol's ability to target diverse pathways associated with carcinogenesis and cancer progression.

Purpose: This article aims to present updated overview of the knowledge that resveratrol and its metabolites or analogs have the potential to inhibit metastasis of cancer via affecting many signaling pathways related with EMT, cancer migration, and invasion in diverse organs of the body.

Chapters: This article starts with a short introduction describing diverse beneficial effects of resveratrol including cancer prevention and the aim of the present study. To address the effects of resveratrol on cancer metastasis, mechanisms of EMT, migration, invasion, and their relevance with cancer metastasis, anti-metastatic effects of resveratrol through EMT-related signaling pathways and inhibitory effects of resveratrol on migration and invasion are highlighted. In addition, anti-metastatic potential of resveratrol metabolites and analogs is addressed.

Conclusion: Resveratrol was demonstrated to turn back the EMT process induced by diverse signaling pathways in several cellular and animal cancer models. In addition, resveratrol can exert chemopreventive efficacies on migration and invasion of cancer cells by inhibiting the related pathways and target molecules. Although these findings display the anti-metastatic potential of resveratrol, more patient-oriented clinical studies demonstrating the marked efficacies of resveratrol in humans are still needed.

Keywords: Cancer metastasis; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Resveratrol; Resveratrol metabolites.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness* / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Stilbenes
  • Resveratrol