Natural Products for Cancer-Targeted Therapy: Citrus Flavonoids as Potent Chemopreventive Agents

  • Meiyanto, Edy (Cancer Chemoprevention Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Gadjah Mada) ;
  • Hermawan, Adam (Cancer Chemoprevention Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Gadjah Mada) ;
  • Anindyajati, Anindyajati (Cancer Chemoprevention Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Gadjah Mada)
  • Published : 2012.02.29


Targeted therapy has been a very promising strategy of drug development research. Many molecular mechanims of diseases have been known to be regulated by abundance of proteins, such as receptors and hormones. Chemoprevention for treatment and prevention of diseases are continuously developed. Pre-clinical and clinical studies in chemoprevention field yielded many valuable data in preventing the onset of disease and suppressing the progress of their growth, making chemoprevention a challenging and a very rational strategy in future researches. Natural products being rich of flavonoids are those fruits belong to the genus citrus. Ethanolic extract of Citrus reticulata and Citrus aurantiifolia peels showed anticarcinogenic, antiproliferative, co-chemotherapeutic and estrogenic effects. Several examples of citrus flavonoids that are potential as chemotherapeutic agents are tangeretin, nobiletin, hesperetin, hesperidin, naringenin, and naringin. Those flavonoids have been shown to possess inhibition activity on certain cancer cells' growth through various mechanisms. Moreover, citrus flavonoids also perform promising effect in combination with several chemotherapeutic agents against the growth of cancer cells. Some mechanisms involved in those activities are through cell cycle modulation, antiangiogenic effect, and apoptosis induction.Previous studies showed that tangeretin suppressed the growth of T47D breast cancer cells by inhibiting ERK phosphorylation. While in combination with tamoxifen, doxorubicin, and 5-FU, respectively, it was proven to be synergist on several cancer cells. Hesperidin and naringenin increased cytotoxicitity of doxorubicin on MCF-7 cells and HeLa cells. Besides, citrus flavonoids also performed estrogenic effect in vivo. One example is hesperidin having the ability to decrease the concentration of serum and hepatic lipid and reduce osteoporosis of ovariectomized rats. Those studies showed the great potential of citrus fruits as natural product to be developed as not only the source of co-chemotherapeutic agents, but also phyto-estrogens. Therefore, further study needs to be conducted to explore the potential of citrus fruits in overcoming cancer.


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