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Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(2):218-26. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2011.523503.

The flavonoid quercetin modulates the hallmark capabilities of hamster buccal pouch tumors.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India.


Epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated the protective effects of dietary phytochemicals against cancer risk. Quercetin, a ubiquitous dietary flavonoid, has attracted considerable attention owing to its potent antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. The present study was designed to investigate the chemopreventive as well as the therapeutic ability of quercetin to modulate the key hallmark capabilities of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced hamster buccal pouch (HBP) carcinomas. We analyzed the expression of markers associated with cell proliferation and survival (PCNA, p21, p53, cyclin D1, GST-P), apoptosis (Fas, Fas-L, Bcl-2 family proteins, cytochrome-C, Apaf-1, caspases, PARP, survivin, cFLIP, API1), invasion (MMPs, TIMP-2, RECK), angiogenesis (PlGF, VEGF, VEGF receptors, HIF-1α), as well as the epigenetic markers (HDAC-1, DNMT1) by immunohistochemical, Western blot, and RT-PCR analyses. Simultaneous administration of quercetin to DMBA-painted hamsters reduced tumor incidence and tumor burden, while posttreatment of quercetin resulted in a significant tumor growth delay. In addition, quercetin administration induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and blocked invasion and angiogenesis. We found a positive correlation between the inhibition of HDAC-1 and DNMT1 by quercetin and its anticancer properties. A dietary phytochemical such as quercetin that modulates a plethora of molecules offers promise as an ideal candidate for multitargeted cancer prevention and therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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