Background: Cancer is a rapidly growing disease and the second most leading cause of death
worldwide. Breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer are the most diagnosed types of cancer among the majority
of the population. The prevalence of these cancers is increasing rapidly due to the lack of effective drugs. The
search for anti-cancer bioactive components from natural plant sources is gaining immense significance. The
aim of the paper is to introduce the readers about the in vitro and in vivo biochemical mechanisms of phenolic
acids and flavonoids in these four types of cancers.
Methods: A literature search was carried out in databases, including Scopus, SciFinder, Springer, Science direct
and Google. The main keywords used were fruits & vegetables, phenolic acids, flavonoids, anticancer, bioavailability,
etc. The data obtained were integrated and analyzed.
Results: The study revealed the potential molecular mechanisms of phenolic acids and flavonoids, which include
the induction of apoptosis, inhibition of cell proliferation, cell-cycle arrest, induction of Poly ADP ribose
polymerase cleavage, downregulation of Matrix metalloproteinases-2 and Matrix metalloproteinases-9 activities,
decreased levels of B-cell lymphoma-2, etc. Promising effects of phenolic acids and flavonoids have been observed
against breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers.
Conclusion: The in vitro and in vivo anti-cancer mechanisms of phenolic acids and flavonoids have been revealed
in this study. With the knowledge of specific molecular targets and the structural-functional relationship
of bioactive compounds, the current review will open a new gateway for the scientific community and provide
them a viable option to exploit more of these compounds for the development of novel and efficacious anticancer