Apoptosis by dietary agents for prevention and treatment of cancer.
The role of apoptosis or programmed cell death in the regulation of development and maintenance of homeostasis in multicellular organisms is well established. During the last decade, naturally occurring dietary agents known to produce chemopreventive effects in experimental models have been shown to target signaling intermediates in apoptosis-inducing pathways. Apoptosis is triggered by two different signals, one extrinsic, which responds mainly to extracellular stimuli, and the other intrinsic, activated by modulators within the cell itself. Proapoptotic compounds could protect against cancer by enhancing elimination of initiated, precancerous cells, and antiapoptotic compounds could promote tumor formation by inhibiting apoptosis in genetically damaged cells. In this brief review, we explore the potential mechanistic interactions of various dietary cancer chemopreventive components within the context of apoptosis.