Targeting signal transduction pathways by chemopreventive agents

A. M. Bode, Zigang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Cancer is a dynamic process that involves many complex factors, which may explain why a "magic bullet" cure for cancer has not been found. Death rates are still rising for many types of cancers, which possibly contributes to the increased interest in chemoprevention as an alternative approach to the control of cancer. This strategy for cancer control is based on the presumption that because cancer develops through a multi-step process, each step may be a prospective target for reversing or suppressing the process. Thus, the design and development of chemopreventive agents that act on specific and/or multiple molecular and cellular targets is gaining support as a rational approach to control cancer. Nutritional or dietary factors have attracted a great deal of interest because of their perceived ability to act as highly effective chemopreventive agents. They are professed as being generally safe and may have efficacy as chemopreventive agents by preventing or reversing premalignant lesions and/or reducing second primary tumor incidence. Many of these dietary compounds appear to act on multiple target signaling pathways. Some of the most interesting and well documented are resveratrol and components of tea, including EGCG, theaflavins and caffeine. This review will focus on recent work regarding three well-accepted cellular/molecular mechanisms that may at least partially explain the effectiveness of selected food factors, including those indicated above, as chemopreventive anti-promotion agents. These food compounds may act by: (1) inducing apoptosis in cancer cells; (2) inhibiting neoplastic transformation through the inhibition of AP-1 and/or NF-κB activation; and/or (3) suppressing COX-2 overexpression in cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Nov 2 2004


  • AP-1
  • Apoptosis
  • COX-2
  • Caffeine
  • EGCG
  • Resveratrol


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