Natural phenolic compounds have been considered as one of the interesting secondary metabolites for their
chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects in cancer for a long time. These are a large and diverse family of phytochemicals
classified into several subgroups such as simple phenols, lignans, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, coumarins, etc.
The antioxidant potential of phenolic compounds is almost bolded in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Due to the
concerns on the diverse effects of antioxidants in cancer, differentiation and clarification of their anti-neoplastic mechanisms
are necessary. An important mechanism for phenolic compounds is related to their direct effect on the cell cycle
progression, which has not been discussed in detail so far. This study aims to criticize the evidence on regulatory mechanisms
of phenolic compounds in the cell cycle. Recent studies indicate that phenolic compounds from several subgroups
significantly inhibit the proliferation of different cancer cells. The structural diversity of these compounds influences various
components involved in cell cycle regulation. Forming active metabolites and sensitizing cancerous cells to chemotherapeutic
medicines are additional values of these compounds. In the recent years, many studies on neoplastic cell
cultures have been carried out to investigate the mechanisms of action of these compounds but dissimilarity of in vitro
systems in comparison with human body in terms of metabolism and bioavailability is a major concern. Therefore, further
studies are still needed.
Keywords: Cancer, cell cycle, chemoprevention, cyclin, flavonoid, lignan, mechanism, phenolic compounds, review.
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