Pomegranate bioactive constituents target multiple oncogenic and oncosuppressive signaling for cancer prevention and intervention

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Seminars in Cancer Biology


Cancer remains to be the second highest cause of mortality in our society, falling just short of heart disease. Despite major advancement in cancer therapy over the past decade, momentum has been gaining for an alternative approach of using naturally-occurring and dietary agents for cancer prevention and management. Research on pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), a fruit of the Punicaceae family, has shown enormous potential for cancer prevention and intervention. In addition to a rich source of polyphenols, including flavonoids and ellagitannins, in its juice, pomegranate also houses hundreds of other phytochemicals in its pericarp, seed, flower, bark, flowers and leaves. These phytochemicals provide powerful antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-invasive, antimigratory, anti-angiogenic and anti-metastatic effects without significant toxicity. This makes the use of its various extracts a very attractive strategy to our current battle against cancer. This review article presents a systematic, comprehensive and critical review of research on pomegranate-derived products in both cancer prevention and intervention. It discusses the chemical constituents of pomegranate, the results of both preclinical (in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo) and clinical studies on the anticancer effect of pomegranate phytochemicals and molecular targets in numerous types of cancers, such as breast, gastrointestinal tract (oral, colon, liver and pancreas), gynecological (uterine and ovarian), hematological (lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma), lung, neurological (glioma), urogenital (bladder and prostate), bioavailability, pharmacokinetics and safety of pomegranate constituents. In order to guide the direction of future research, we have also included current limitations and challenges in the field and our post analysis recommendation.

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