Author(s):Homa Fatma and Hifzur R Siddique*
Background: Cancer is a global health issue and economic burden with a continuous increase in incidence and mortality. Over the years, the underlying molecular mechanism of cancers was thoroughly researched, leading to multiple drugs development. Unfortunately, most drugs have some serious drawbacks, such as therapy resistance and toxicity. Epidemiological studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has cancer-prevention properties, which shifted the attention to the potential role of phytochemicals in anti-carcinogenic activity.
Objective: To review the present status of phytochemicals research and patents in cancer prevention and chemosensitization.
Methods: We explored the relevant published articles and patents to review the phytochemicals showing cancer preventive role in preclinical settings from 1997 onwards.
Results: We summarise the role of phytochemicals on anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anti-metastatic, and pro-apoptotic activities in both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, phytochemicals might be an excellent chemosensitizing agent against chemoresistant cells and possibly one of the safest and most effective options for cancer therapy. However, one of the limitations of phytochemicals is their poor bioavailability and rapid excretion. Several analogs have been introduced to increase bioavailability, better biological efficacy, absorption, and retention. In fact, various phytochemicals and their analogs have been patented for their anti-cancerous properties.
Conclusion: This mini-review discusses various phytochemicals and their anti-cancerous and chemosensitizing roles. Due to their clinical relevance, recent trends in phytochemical extraction and exploration have shown that more and more phytochemicals are being patented.
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