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Photochemoprevention of skin cancer by botanical agents.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


Photochemoprevention has become an important armamentarium in the fight against ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced damage to the skin. Among many UVR-induced damages, skin cancer is of the greatest concern as its rates have been steadily increasing in recent years and the same trend is expected to continue in the future. Ultra-violet radiation increases oxidative stress in skin cells by causing excessive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to cancer initiation and promotion. Antioxidants have the capability to quench these ROS and much recent work shows that some of these can inhibit many UVR-induced signal transduction pathways. Thus, identifying nontoxic strong antioxidants--capable of preventing UVR-induced skin cancer--has become an important area of research. The use of botanical antioxidants in skin care products is growing in popularity. A wide range of such agents has been shown to prevent skin cancer in animal model systems. New agents are constantly being investigated; however, only a few have been tested for their efficacy in humans. Animal model and cell culture studies have clarified that antioxidants act by several mechanisms at various stages of skin carcinogenesis. This review focuses on skin cancer photochemopreventive effects of selected botanical antioxidants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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