Plant-Based Natural Products and Cancer: A Challenge to Chart a New Course

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemicals and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 August 2024 | Viewed by 6951

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Cancer Prevention Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Interests: food patterns; dietary patterns; chronic disease; prevent and control; nutrient sensing; energy sensing; energy balance; gut-associated microbiome; immune system
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Striking progress is being made in cancer treatment by using orally administered small-molecule inhibitors that target products of genes recognized as drivers for specific types of cancer, an example of precision oncology. In view of these successes, we have recently called on scientists in the fields of cancer chemoprevention and diet, nutrition, and cancer to “reverse engineer” these clinical successes in cancer treatment to advance their fields. In so doing, we re-introduce two concepts from the mid-1970s: 1) targeting the entire process of carcinogenesis for treatment, and 2) suppressing, inhibiting, and reversing any phase of the disease process from the generation of a cancer-initiated stem cell to metastatic cancer with the goal of reducing cancer-specific deaths.  

Chemopreventive Oncopharmacognosy. Arguably, the current use of orally active targeted small-molecule inhibitors is a highly successful example of 21st century cancer chemoprevention. While the value of using highly specific drugs is clear, it is essential to leverage the science underlying current advances in cancer treatment to develop culturally acceptable natural product formulations that benefit individuals with limited opportunities to access precision pharmaceuticals because they are neither affordable nor accessible in many parts of the world.  

Dietary Oncopharmacognosy. While diet and nutrition are modifiable risk factors for many chronic and infectious diseases, their role in affecting carcinogenesis remains under investigation. The lack of clarity about some diet–cancer relationships reflects the ongoing debate about the relative contribution of genetic factors, environmental exposures, and replicative errors in stem cell division as determinate drivers of cancer risk. In addition, dietary guidance has often been based upon research assuming that the effects of diet and nutrition on carcinogenesis would be uniform across populations and for various tumor types arising in a specific organ, i.e., that one size fits all. We call on scientists in the field to develop precision dietary patterns that leverage the approaches that led to successful small-molecule inhibitors in cancer treatment. We refer to this precision approach as dietary oncopharmacognosy and envision it as the crosswalk between the currently defined fields of precision oncology and precision nutrition.

The goal of this Special Issue is to assemble a collection of papers that are exemplars of the use of natural products as inhibitors that target protein kinases, apoptosis evasion, immune suppression, and angiogenesis induction in a cancer-subtype-specific manner. We refer to this use of natural products as oncopharmagonosy and envision the application of artificial intelligence as a tool that guides the development of cancer chemopreventive formulations and precision dietary patterns that  reduce cancer deaths at specific organ sites. Because considerable effort in cancer chemoprevention and diet, nutrition, and cancer has focused on breast cancer, we expect many exemplars will exist for specific molecular subtypes of this disease process. However, examples at other organ sites will be considered, including hematological malignancies. This Special Issue seeks original research papers and systematic reviews and meta-analyses on these topics.

Prof. Dr. Henry J. Thompson
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • precision oncology
  • precision nutrition
  • bioactive food components
  • cancer prevention and control
  • diet and nutrition
  • dietary oncopharmacognosy
  • pharmacology
  • natural products
  • cancer kinome
  • chemoprevention
  • natural products
  • small-molecule inhibitors

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Review

13 pages, 1160 KiB  
Review
Molecular Pathways of Rosmarinic Acid Anticancer Activity in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells: A Literature Review
by Evangelia K. Konstantinou, Athanasios A. Panagiotopoulos, Konstantina Argyri, George I. Panoutsopoulos, Maria Dimitriou and Aristea Gioxari
Nutrients 2024, 16(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16010002 - 19 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1495
Abstract
Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in women. Oncogenic transcription factors promote the overproduction of cellular adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines during cancer development. Cancer cells exhibit significant upregulation of antiapoptotic proteins, resulting in increased cell survival, tumor growth, and [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in women. Oncogenic transcription factors promote the overproduction of cellular adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines during cancer development. Cancer cells exhibit significant upregulation of antiapoptotic proteins, resulting in increased cell survival, tumor growth, and metastasis. Research on the cell cycle-mediated apoptosis pathway for drug discovery and therapy has shown promising results. In fact, dietary phytoconstituents have been extensively researched for anticancer activity, providing indirect protection by activating endogenous defense systems. The role of polyphenols in key cancer signaling pathways could shed light on the underlying mechanisms of action. For instance, Rosmarinic Acid, a polyphenol constituent of many culinary herbs, has shown potent chemoprotective properties. In this review, we present recent progress in the investigation of natural products as potent anticancer agents, with a focus on the effect of Rosmarinic Acid on triple-negative BC cell lines resistant to hormone therapy. We highlight a variety of integrated chemical biology approaches aimed at utilizing relevant mechanisms of action that could lead to significant clinical advances in BC treatment. Full article
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14 pages, 981 KiB  
Review
Dietary Oncopharmacognosy as a Crosswalk between Precision Oncology and Precision Nutrition
by Henry J. Thompson, Tymofiy Lutsiv, John N. McGinley, Hisham Hussan and Mary C. Playdon
Nutrients 2023, 15(9), 2219; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15092219 - 8 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2424
Abstract
While diet and nutrition are modifiable risk factors for many chronic and infectious diseases, their role in cancer prevention and control remains under investigation. The lack of clarity of some diet–cancer relationships reflects the ongoing debate about the relative contribution of genetic factors, [...] Read more.
While diet and nutrition are modifiable risk factors for many chronic and infectious diseases, their role in cancer prevention and control remains under investigation. The lack of clarity of some diet–cancer relationships reflects the ongoing debate about the relative contribution of genetic factors, environmental exposures, and replicative errors in stem cell division as determinate drivers of cancer risk. In addition, dietary guidance has often been based upon research assuming that the effects of diet and nutrition on carcinogenesis would be uniform across populations and for various tumor types arising in a specific organ, i.e., that one size fits all. Herein, we present a paradigm for investigating precision dietary patterns that leverages the approaches that led to successful small-molecule inhibitors in cancer treatment, namely understanding the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of small molecules for targeting carcinogenic mechanisms. We challenge the scientific community to refine the paradigm presented and to conduct proof-in-concept experiments that integrate existing knowledge (drug development, natural products, and the food metabolome) with developments in artificial intelligence to design and then test dietary patterns predicted to elicit drug-like effects on target tissues for cancer prevention and control. We refer to this precision approach as dietary oncopharmacognosy and envision it as the crosswalk between the currently defined fields of precision oncology and precision nutrition with the goal of reducing cancer deaths. Full article
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16 pages, 4279 KiB  
Review
Natural Products in Precision Oncology: Plant-Based Small Molecule Inhibitors of Protein Kinases for Cancer Chemoprevention
by Henry J. Thompson and Tymofiy Lutsiv
Nutrients 2023, 15(5), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15051192 - 27 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2381
Abstract
Striking progress is being made in cancer treatment by using small molecule inhibitors of specific protein kinases that are products of genes recognized as drivers for a specific type of cancer. However, the cost of newly developed drugs is high, and these pharmaceuticals [...] Read more.
Striking progress is being made in cancer treatment by using small molecule inhibitors of specific protein kinases that are products of genes recognized as drivers for a specific type of cancer. However, the cost of newly developed drugs is high, and these pharmaceuticals are neither affordable nor accessible in most parts of the world. Accordingly, this narrative review aims to probe how these recent successes in cancer treatment can be reverse-engineered into affordable and accessible approaches for the global community. This challenge is addressed through the lens of cancer chemoprevention, defined as using pharmacological agents of natural or synthetic origin to impede, arrest, or reverse carcinogenesis at any stage in the disease process. In this regard, prevention refers to reducing cancer-related deaths. Recognizing the clinical successes and limitations of protein kinase inhibitor treatment strategies, the disciplines of pharmacognosy and chemotaxonomy are juxtaposed with current efforts to exploit the cancer kinome to describe a conceptual framework for developing a natural product-based approach for precision oncology. Full article
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