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Power from the Garden: Plant Compounds as Inhibitors of the Hallmarks of Cancer

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On December 23rd, 1971, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act and invested more than $ 100 million “to launch an intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer”. Today, despite these considerable efforts, cancer still remains a very aggressive silent killer all over the world.

Moreover, over the last decade, novel synthetic chemotherapeutic agents currently in use in the clinics did not succeed in fulfilling their expectations even though they are very cost-intensive. In parallel, there is increasing evidence for the potential of plant-derived compounds on the inhibition of different steps of tumor genesis and associated inflammatory processes, underlining the importance of these products in cancer prevention and therapy.

This review summarizes the impact of selected natural compounds on the eight major alterations, known as the cancer hallmarks, and also on their two enabling characteristics that were coined by Hanahan and Weinberg earlier. Altogether these ten alterations are responsible for the progressive transition of healthy cells into neoplastic ones and their further dissemination in the body.

With this review, we try to highlight molecular mechanisms by which plant extracts and their purified active components fight and overcome these pathological variations of the cell signaling pathways for the improvement of prevention and therapy. We truly believe that all diseases can be found in Nature and that Nature also provides the efficient cures.
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Keywords: Plant compounds; cancer hallmarks; cancer prevention; cell cycle; cell death; chemotherapeutic agents; immune system; inflammation signaling; neoplastic; tumor microenvironment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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