Despite the availability of multiple therapeutic methods for patients with cancer, the long-term prognosis is not satisfactory in a number of different cancer types. Vitamin K2 (VK2), which exerts anticancer effects on a number of cancer cell lines, is considered to be a prospective novel agent for the treatment of cancer. The present review aims to summarize the results of studies in which VK2 was administered either to patients with cancer or animals inoculated with cancerous cells, particularly investigating the inhibitory effects of VK2 on cancerous cells, primarily involving cell-cycle arrest, cell differentiation, apoptosis, autophagy and invasion. The present review summarizes evidence stating that treatment with VK2 could positively inhibit the growth of cancer cells, making it a potentially useful approach for the prevention and clinical treatment of cancer. Additionally, the combination treatment of VK2 and established chemotherapeutics may achieve better results, with fewer side effects. Therefore, more attention should be paid to the effects of micronutrients on tumors.
Keywords: apoptosis; cancer; cell differentiation; cell-cycle arrest; drug therapy; vitamin K2.