Pharmacological basis and new insights of quercetin action in respect to its anti-cancer effects

Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Jan:121:109604. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2019.109604. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


Quercetin is a kind of flavonoid compounds that comes from nature and is widely existed in the daily diet. Previous studies have found that quercetin has many effects such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation and anti-cancer. Both in vivo and in vitro experiments have demonstrated that quercetin can exert anti-tumor effects by altering cell cycle progression, inhibiting cell proliferation, promoting apoptosis, inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis progression, and affecting autophagy. This review summarizes the evidence for the pharmacological potential and inhibition of quercetin on cancers, supporting the viewpoint that quercetin should be adequately considered as a therapeutic agent against various cancers.

Keywords: Cancer; Inhibitory effect; Quercetin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Quercetin