2007 Volume 40 Issue 2 Pages 82-91
Cancer chemoprevention is fast becoming a lucrative approach for controlling cancer. Carcinogenesis being a complex multi-step, multi-factorial process, a number of chemopreventive interventions can be employed. These strategies are generally directed against two broad events of carcinogenesis viz., initiation and promotion/progression. Anti-initiation interventions principally involve inhibition of carcinogen activation, scavenging of free radicals and reactive carcinogen metabolites along with enhanced detoxification of carcinogens by modulating cellular metabolism. Anti-promotion strategies involve attenuation of enhanced cellular proliferation along with induction of cellular apoptosis and differentiation. Dietary agents or herbal anti-oxidants due to low toxicity and relative safety are promising chemopreventive agents. These agents after emerging successful through a series of in vitro and in vivo assays enter clinical trials. Many dietary compounds have emerged as promising chemopreventive agents in empirical experiments. However, in clinical trials these compounds have met with limited success. This emphasizes the need for further detailed research on the mechanisms of observed chemoprevention and choice, dose, duration and bioavailability of chemopreventive agent used. Complex issues such as choice and nutritional status of target population, genetic variation, gene-environment interactions and relevance of biomarkers analyzed also warrant further research and analyses.