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Front Biosci. 2008 Jan 1;13:2191-202.

Cell cycle control as a basis for cancer chemoprevention through dietary agents.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


The development of cancer is associated with disorders in the regulation of the cell cycle. The purpose of this review is to briefly summarize the known sequence of events that regulate cell cycle progression with an emphasis on the checkpoints and the mechanisms cell employ to insure DNA stability in the face of genotoxic stress. Key transitions in the cell cycle are regulated by the activities of various protein kinase complexes composed of cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) molecules. The cyclins are CDK binding partners which are required for kinase activity and their protein levels are intimately linked to the cell cycle stage. CDK activity can be regulated by other mechanisms, such as phosphorylation events, that may contribute to deregulation of cell cycle and the development of cancer. While fruits and vegetables are recommended for prevention of cancer, their active ingredients and mechanisms of action are less well understood. Here, we briefly present evidence that dietary agents identified from fruits and vegetables can act to modulate the effects of deregulated cell cycle checkpoints, and that this may contribute to the prevention of cancer. The agents include apigenin (celery, parsley), curcumin (turmeric), (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (green tea), resveratrol (red grape, peanuts and berries), genistein (soybean), and silymarin (milk thistle). The teachings of Hippocrates are still true "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food".

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