Dietary phytochemicals and cancer chemoprevention: a review of the clinical evidence

Ritesh Kotecha, Akiyoshi Takami and J. Luis Espinoza _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:52517-52529. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9593

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Ritesh Kotecha1, Akiyoshi Takami2 and J. Luis Espinoza3

1 Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States of America

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology, Aichi Medical University, School of Medicine, Nagakute, Aichi, Japan

3 Department of Hematology Oncology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Japan

Correspondence to:

J. Luis Espinoza, email:

Keywords: cancer chemoprevention, phytochemicals, resveratrol, curcumin, antioxidants

Received: December 30, 2015 Accepted: May 12, 2016 Published: May 25, 2016


Cancer chemoprevention involves the use of different natural or biologic agents to inhibit or reverse tumor growth. Epidemiological and pre-clinical data suggest that various natural phytochemicals and dietary compounds possess chemopreventive properties, and in-vitro and animal studies support that these compounds may modulate signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation and apoptosis in transformed cells, enhance the host immune system and sensitize malignant cells to cytotoxic agents. Despite promising results from experimental studies, only a limited number of these compounds have been tested in clinical trials and have shown variable results. In this review, we summarize the data regarding select phytochemicals including curcumin, resveratrol, lycopene, folates and tea polyphenols with emphasis on the clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of these compounds in high-risk populations.

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