Combination Chemotherapy with Selected Polyphenols in Preclinical and Clinical Studies-An Update Overview

Molecules. 2023 Apr 26;28(9):3746. doi: 10.3390/molecules28093746.


This review article describes studies published over the past five years on the combination of polyphenols, which are the most studied in the field of anticancer effects (curcumin, quercetin, resveratrol, epigallocatechin gallate, and apigenin) and chemotherapeutics such as cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, paclitaxel, etc. According to WHO data, research has been limited to five cancers with the highest morbidity rate (lung, colorectal, liver, gastric, and breast cancer). A systematic review of articles published in the past five years (from January 2018 to January 2023) was carried out with the help of all Web of Science databases and the available base of clinical studies. Based on the preclinical studies presented in this review, polyphenols can enhance drug efficacy and reduce chemoresistance through different molecular mechanisms. Considering the large number of studies, curcumin could be a molecule in future chemotherapy cocktails. One of the main problems in clinical research is related to the limited bioavailability of most polyphenols. The design of a new co-delivery system for drugs and polyphenols is essential for future clinical research. Some polyphenols work in synergy with chemotherapeutic drugs, but some polyphenols can act antagonistically, so caution is always required.

Keywords: apigenin; cancer; chemotherapy; combination; curcumin; epigallocatechin gallate; polyphenol; quercetin; resveratrol; synergism.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Curcumin* / pharmacology
  • Curcumin* / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Polyphenols* / therapeutic use
  • Resveratrol


  • Polyphenols
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol
  • Antioxidants

Grants and funding

The publication was funded by the Croatian Academic and Research Libraries Consortium (CARLC).