Background: Cancer is a rapidly growing disease and the second most leading cause of death worldwide. Breast, Colon, Lung, and Prostate 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 biochemical in vitro and in vivo mechanisms of phenolic acids and flavonoids on these four types of cancers.
Methods: 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 includes induction of apoptosis, inhibition of cellproliferation, 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. The 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. 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 in the development of novel and efficacious anticancer compounds.