A prominent group of effective cancer chemopreventive drugs has been derived from natural products having low toxicity
while possessing apparent benefit in the disease process. It is plausible that there are multiple target molecules critical to cancer cell survival.
Herbal terpenoids have demonstrated excellent target-specific anti-neoplastic functions by suppression of cell proliferation and induction
of apoptosis. Transcriptional molecules in the NF-κB, MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways are important molecular targets
of chemotherapy that play distinctive roles in modulating the apoptosis cascades. It is recently suggested that NSAID-activated gene
(NAG-1), a novel proapoptotic protein, is the upstream anti-carcinogenic target of NSAIDs, PPAR ligands and herbal chemotherapeutic
agents that triggers some of the events mentioned above. Besides, angiogenesis, oxidative stress as well as inflammation are important
factors that contribute to the development and metastasis of cancer, which could be actively modulated by novel agents of plant origin.
The aim of the present review is to discuss and summarize the contemporary use of herbal therapeutics and phytochemicals in the treatment
of human cancers, in particular that of the colon. The major events and signaling pathways in the carcinogenesis process being potentially
modulated by natural products and novel herbal compounds will be evaluated, with emphasis on some terpenoids. Advances in
eliciting the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms during the anti-tumorigenic process of novel herbal therapeutics will be of imperative
clinical significance to increase the efficacy and reduce prominent adverse drug effects in cancer patients through target-specific
Keywords: Herbal therapeutics, phytochemicals, chemotherapy, anti-inflammation, colon cancer, molecular targets, natural products, apoptosis, angiogenesis, oxidative stress
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