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Molecular Basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Cancer Chemoprevention

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Abstract:

Cancer is the second leading cause of death, for which current therapeutic approaches are still very limited. Chemoprevention is an important approach to decreasing cancer morbidity and mortality by the use of non-toxic natural or synthetic substances to reverse the processes of initiation and subsequent progression of cancer. A substantial amount of evidence from human, animal and cell line studies has shown that many herbal products used for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can exert chemopreventive effects. The underlying theory for TCM to treat or prevent cancer is to bring the patient back to a healthy state by modifying multiple cancer-causing events. Since carcinogenesis involves multiple abnormal genes/pathways, using TCM in cancer chemoprevention may be superior to the agents targeting a single molecular target alone. However, before TCM can be accepted universally as complementary and alternative medicine for cancer treatment and prevention, it is crucial to understand the molecular basis for their effects. This review highlights several known molecular mechanisms of selected TCM in chemoprevention. Many TCM products or single active components have been reported to inhibit a variety of processes in cancer cell growth, invasion and metastasis by modulating a wide range of molecular targets, including cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), nuclear factor-Kappa B (NF-κB) and nuclear factor erythroid 2 -related factor 2 (Nrf2)-mediated antioxidant signaling pathways. The TCM and their active components with potent chemopreventive effects can be considered as promising lead agents for the design of more effective and less toxic agents for cancer chemoprevention.





Keywords: COX-2; NF-κB; Nrf2; Traditional Chinese medicine; chemoprevention

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • Due to the plethora of new approaches being used in modern drug discovery by the pharmaceutical industry, Current Drug Discovery Technologies has been established to provide comprehensive overviews of all the major modern techniques and technologies used in drug design and discovery. The journal is the forum for publishing both original research papers and reviews describing novel approaches and cutting edge technologies used in all stages of drug discovery. The journal addresses the multidimensional challenges of drug discovery science including integration issues of the drug discovery process.

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