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Cell Signal. 2009 Nov;21(11):1541-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2009.03.009. Epub 2009 Mar 16.

Cellular signaling perturbation by natural products.

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Department of Pathology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 740 Hudson Webber Cancer Research Center, 4100 John R, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Cancer cells are known to have alterations in multiple cellular signaling pathways and because of the complexities in the communication between multiple signaling networks, the treatment and the cure for most human malignancies is still an open question. Perhaps, this is the reason why specific inhibitors that target only one pathway have been typically failed in cancer treatment. However, the in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that some natural products such as isoflavones, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM), curcumin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), resveratrol, lycopene, etc, have inhibitory effects on human and animal cancers through targeting multiple cellular signaling pathways and thus these "natural agents" could be classified as multi-targeted agents. This is also consistent with the epidemiological studies showing that the consumption of fruits, soybean and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancers. By regulating multiple important cellular signaling pathways including NF-kappaB, Akt, MAPK, Wnt, Notch, p53, AR, ER, etc, these natural products are known to activate cell death signals and induce apoptosis in pre-cancerous or cancer cells without affecting normal cells. Therefore, non-toxic "natural agents" harvested from the bounties of nature could be useful either alone or in combination with conventional therapeutics for the prevention of tumor progression and/or treatment of human malignancies.

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