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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2009 Mar;2(3):200-8. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0141. Epub 2009 Mar 3.

Bioactive food components, inflammatory targets, and cancer prevention.

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  • 1Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.


Various dietary components may modify chronic inflammatory processes at the stage of cytokine production, amplification of nuclear factor-kappaB-mediated inflammatory gene expression, and the release of anti-inflammatory cytokine, transforming growth factor-beta. This review provides a synopsis of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence that specific bioactive food components influence inflammation-related targets linked to cancer. A target repeatedly surfacing as a site of action for several dietary components is transforming growth factor beta. Whereas the use of dietary intervention strategies offers intriguing possibilities for maintaining normal cell function by modifying a process that is essential for cancer development and progression, more information is needed to characterize the minimum quantity of the bioactive food components required to bring about a change in inflammation-mediated cancer, the ideal time for intervention, and the importance of genetics in determining the response. Unquestionably, the societal benefits of using foods and their components to prevent chronic inflammation and associated complications, including cancer, are enormous.

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