Metabolic regulation and redox activity as mechanisms for angioprevention by dietary phytochemicals

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The existence of active principles in numerous foods and beverages has been recognized by traditional medicines worldwide after centuries of empirical trial. Epidemiological studies support the concepts linking diet to survival, particularly in the incidence rates of specific cancers. Molecular studies have provided evidence that a wide range of food-derived phytochemicals and other diet-associated compounds or their synthetic derivatives represent a cornucopia of potential new compounds for prevention and treatment of chronic or acute diseases. Many have entered clinical practice or are under clinical testing. A remarkable property shared by several phytochemicals is the capacity to restrain inflammation and angiogenesis, two complex physiologic processes kept under control by strict rules, which can backfire in cancer and in pathologic conditions such as metabolic, cardiovascular and neurological disorders. We termed this concept "angioprevention". Here, we discuss recent findings on the metabolic effects of several phytochemicals with anticancer properties. The different molecular targets shared by these compounds seem to converge on crosstalking signaling networks involved in controlling energy metabolism through a redox-regulated code. The redox imbalance produced in the tissue microenvironment elicits an adaptive response that seems to provide cytoprotective effects potentially beneficial in cardiovascular and neurological disorders or energy balancing effects in metabolic disorders. However, in transformed and overt tumor cells, this redox imbalance favors cell death while curbing tumor inflammation and angiogenesis, thus engaging an overall antitumor response. These concepts provide a broader framework for pharmacological application of phytochemical-derived drugs against cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1997-2003
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Aging
  • Angiogenesis
  • Angioprevention
  • Cancer
  • Chemoprevention
  • Inflammation
  • Longevity
  • Oxidative stress
  • Redox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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