Role of Apigenin in Cancer Prevention via the Induction of Apoptosis and Autophagy

J Cancer Prev. 2016 Dec;21(4):216-226. doi: 10.15430/JCP.2016.21.4.216. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


Apigenin (4',5,7-trihydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid commonly found in many fruits and vegetables such as parsley, chamomile, celery, and kumquats. In the last few decades, recognition of apigenin as a cancer chemopreventive agent has increased. Significant progress has been made in studying the chemopreventive aspects of apigenin both in vitro and in vivo. Several studies have demonstrated that the anticarcinogenic properties of apigenin occur through regulation of cellular response to oxidative stress and DNA damage, suppression of inflammation and angiogenesis, retardation of cell proliferation, and induction of autophagy and apoptosis. One of the most well-recognized mechanisms of apigenin is the capability to promote cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis through the p53-related pathway. A further role of apigenin in chemoprevention is the induction of autophagy in several human cancer cell lines. In this review, we discuss the details of apigenin, apoptosis, autophagy, and the role of apigenin in cancer chemoprevention via the induction of apoptosis and autophagy.

Keywords: Apigenin; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Chemoprevention.

Publication types

  • Review