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Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Sep;119:98-105. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.05.024. Epub 2018 May 10.

Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) as a rich source of bioactive components to combat cancer naturally: Are we on the right track to fully unlock its potential as inhibitor of deregulated signaling pathways.

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Institute of Biomedical and Genetic Engineering (IBGE), Islamabad 44000, Pakistan.
Department of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Department of Zoology, GCU Lahore, Pakistan.
Kazakhstan Medical University "KSPH", Kazakhstan.
Department of Molecular Medicine, Aziz Sancar Institute of Experimental Medicine, Istanbul University, Turkey.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yeditepe University, Turkey.
Food Science and Technology Program, Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College, Zhuhai, Guangdong 519087, China. Electronic address:


Research over decades has progressively explored pharmacological actions of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia). Biologically and pharmacologically active molecules isolated from M. charantia have shown significant anti-cancer activity in cancer cell lines and xenografted mice. In this review spotlight was set on the bioactive compounds isolated from M. charantia that effectively inhibited cancer development and progression via regulation of protein network in cancer cells. We summarize most recent high-quality research work in cancer cell lines and xenografted mice related to tumor suppressive role-play of M. charantia and its bioactive compounds. Although M. charantia mediated health promoting, anti-diabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory effects have been extensively investigated, there is insufficient information related to regulation of signaling networks by bioactive molecules obtained from M. charantia in different cancers. M. charantia has been shown to modulate AKT/mTOR/p70S6K signaling, p38MAPK-MAPKAPK-2/HSP-27 pathway, cell cycle regulatory proteins and apoptosis-associated proteins in different cancers. However, still there are visible knowledge gaps related to the drug targets in different cancers because we have not yet developed comprehensive understanding of the M. charantia mediated regulation of signal transduction pathways. To explore these questions, experimental platforms are needed that can prove to be helpful in getting a step closer to personalized medicine.


Bioactive components; Momordica charantia; Protein network; Signaling

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