The investigation of chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer since the early 1940s has resulted in the discovery of over 50 drugs till date. However, most of these drugs result in severe side effects causing physical and mental trauma to patients. In order to eliminate the side effects, search for better and safer drugs has been ongoing for several decades, which has resulted in the discovery of anti-cancer properties of many phytochemicals. Polyphenols represent a unique class of phytochemicals that possess excellent anti- oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and also modulate cell signalling pathways leading to anti-cancer effects. However, the use of these compounds as anti-cancer agents is not as effective and hence combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs with these molecules have been attempted. Promising results in in vitro and in vivo experiments while using combinations of polyphenols and chemotherapeutic agents open up new avenues for the discovery of the ideal drug combinations for cancer therapy. This review highlights the efficacy of the combination of phytochemicals with synthetic anti – neoplastic drugs over the conventional combinations of anti-neoplastic drugs and the possible interventions in the clinical settings. The review also discusses the inclusion of polyphenols in emerging therapeutic modalities like nanotechnology and photodynamic therapy.
Keywords: Cancer, Chemotherapy, Doxorubicin, 5-Fluorouracil, Cyclophosphamide, Ara-C, NFκB, Anti-oxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Resveratrol, Curcumin, Tea Catechins, Combination therapy
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