The protective effect of some Thai plants and their bioactive compounds in UV light-induced skin carcinogenesis

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2018 Aug;185:80-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2018.04.046. Epub 2018 May 2.


Skin cancer, represents a major public health concern. While the vast majority is non-melanoma skin cancers, melanomas are mostly responsible for mortality. Solar UVB radiation is mutagenic and carcinogenic. It is primarily responsible for both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers via excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which mediate changes in inflammation and immunity, and have been implicated in all three stages of skin cancer development. Due to their regulatory role in numerous functions of cells, signaling pathways are targets for chemoprevention. The current standards in melanoma therapy are targeted and combination therapies, which, albeit prolong survival responses, are still prone to development of drug resistance. To this extent, drugs of natural origin continue to spark great interest. Thailand has a rich biodiversity of indigenous flora, which have traditionally been used to treat a variety of pathologies. The active components in plant extracts that have medicinal properties, termed 'bioactive compounds,' are efficient chemopreventive agents due to their antioxidant, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, and carcinogen detoxification properties. Thai plants and their bioactive compounds have shown protective effects on UV light-induced skin cancer in different experimental models. This warrants further in vivo investigations and translation to clinical studies to determine efficacy and safety, for use as lead compounds in targeted/combination therapy or adjuvant therapy with existing regimes. Coupled with a strategy for prevention, this offers a promising outlook for protection against photocarcinogenesis.

Keywords: Chemoprevention; Medicinal plants; Phytochemicals; Skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / metabolism
  • Protective Agents / chemistry*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Protective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species