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Toxins (Basel). 2018 Nov 14;10(11). pii: E469. doi: 10.3390/toxins10110469.

Natural Products to Fight Cancer: A Focus on Juglans regia.

Author information

1
Department for Life Quality Studies, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, corso d'Augusto 237, Rimini 47921, Italy. elena.catanzaro2@unibo.it.
2
Department for Life Quality Studies, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, corso d'Augusto 237, Rimini 47921, Italy. giulia.greco9@unibo.it.
3
Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, via Saffi 2, Urbino 61029, Italy. lucia.potenza@uniurb.it.
4
Department for Life Quality Studies, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, corso d'Augusto 237, Rimini 47921, Italy. cinzia.calcabrini@unibo.it.
5
Department for Life Quality Studies, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, corso d'Augusto 237, Rimini 47921, Italy. carmela.fimognari@unibo.it.

Abstract

Even if cancer represents a burden for human society, an exhaustive cure has not been discovered yet. Low therapeutic index and resistance to pharmacotherapy are two of the major limits of antitumour treatments. Natural products represent an excellent library of bioactive molecules. Thus, tapping into the natural world may prove useful in identifying new therapeutic options with favourable pharmaco-toxicological profiles. Juglans regia, or common walnut, is a very resilient tree that has inhabited our planet for thousands of years. Many studies correlate walnut consumption to beneficial effects towards several chronic diseases, such as cancer, mainly due to the bioactive molecules stored in different parts of the plant. Among others, polyphenols, quinones, proteins, and essential fatty acids contribute to its pharmacologic activity. The present review aims to offer a comprehensive perspective about the antitumour potential of the most promising compounds stored in this plant, such as juglanin, juglone, and the ellagitannin-metabolites urolithins or deriving from walnut dietary intake. All molecules and a chronic intake of the fruit provide tangible anticancer effects. However, the scarcity of studies on humans does not allow results to be conclusive.

KEYWORDS:

Juglans regia; cancer therapy; in vitro studies; in vivo studies; natural products; walnut

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