Cancer-fighting Phyto-nutrients and their Mechanisms

If the Cancer establishments assert that over 70 percent of cancers are related to Diet, then food can be part of the solution. In this blog-article, i will first look at foods that promote apoptosis (Section A), then cancer-fighting foods that inhibit tumor angiogenesis (Section B) and conclude with an analysis on metastasis and cancer stem cell fight foods (Section C)

Section A

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Foods that Induced Cancer Apoptosis-based Death

The 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Sydney Brenner, Horvitz and John E. Sulston for their work identifying genes that control apoptosis. The genes were identified by studies in the nematode C. elegans and homologues of these genes function in humans to regulate apoptosis.

Methods for distinguishing apoptotic from necrotic (necroptotic) cells[edit]

In order to perform analysis of apoptotic versus necrotic (necroptotic) cells, one can do analysis of morphology by time-lapse microscopy, flow fluorocytometry, and transmission electron microscopy. There are also various biochemical techniques for analysis of cell surface markers (phosphatidylserine exposure versus cell permeability by flow cytometry), cellular markers such as DNA fragmentation[62] (flow cytometry),[63] caspase activation, Bid cleavage, and cytochrome c release (Western blotting). It is important to know how primary and secondary necrotic cells can be distinguished by analysis of supernatant for caspases, HMGB1, and release of cytokeratin 18. However, no distinct surface or biochemical markers of necrotic cell death have been identified yet, and only negative markers are available. These include absence of apoptotic markers (caspase activation, cytochrome c release, and oligonucleosomal DNA fragmentation) and differential kinetics of cell death markers (phosphatidylserine exposure and cell membrane permeabilization). A selection of techniques that can be used to distinguish apoptosis from necroptotic cells could be found in these references.[64][


Programmed cell death in plants has a number of molecular similarities to that of animal apoptosis, but it also has differences, notable ones being the presence of a cell wall and the lack of an immune system that removes the pieces of the dead cell. Instead of an immune response, the dying cell synthesizes substances to break itself down and places them in a vacuole that ruptures as the cell dies. Whether this whole process resembles animal apoptosis closely enough to warrant using the name apoptosis (as opposed to the more general programmed cell death) is unclear.[98


Top 5 Apoptosis Foods to Include in Your Diet

1 Green tea offers the best source of specific flavonoids called catechins that have been scientifically proven in multiple studies to slow and/or stop the growth of cancer – including breast, liver, prostate and lung cancers.

2Green tea provides three times the potent catechins of black tea and its overall health benefits may outweigh the fact that it contains caffeine. If you are on a caffeine-restricted diet, talk to your doctor before adding green tea to your nutrition plan.

3Drinking brewed green tea is better than taking supplements – your body is better able to absorb the nutrients without experiencing any adverse effects.


1 Legumes such as peas, beans and lentils contain the phytochemicals saponin, phytica acid and protease inhibitors which have been shown inhibit cancer cell reproduction. They are packed with folate – crucial to healthy cell division and repair – and other powerful antioxidants. Adding legumes to your diet is always an excellent nutrition choice.


1 Berries – particularly blueberries, strawberries and raspberries – contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which has been proven in recent studies to slow the growth and spread of cancer cells. Blueberries also contain anthocyanosides – a phenolic compound that has been found to be one of the most potent antioxidants discovered to date.


1 Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and turnips, – are some of the best known cancer-fighters. They are high in many vitamins and minerals, but it is the abundance of polyphenols called glucosinolates (which convert to sulforaphane and erucin) that make these vegetables so valuable. These compounds inhibit cancer growth and flush carcinogens from the body naturally. All you need is half a cup of raw, lightly steamed or sautéed selection from the cruciferous family each day.


1 Tomatoes are packed with an antioxidant called lycopene which is also found in grapes and red wine. Lycopene – the compound that gives tomatoes and other fruits their bright color – has been found to interrupt blood flow to cancer cells, – starving them to death.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, – consulting with your physician about using apoptosis-causing foods.

J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Jul;23(7):691-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.03.002.



Section B

Foods that inhibit cancer angiogenesis


Accumulating data clearly indicate that induction of apoptosis in  cancer cells is an event that is natural, activated via our adaptive immne system. Naturally occurring dietary agents and foods can guide this process.

In mammalian cells, apoptosis has been divided into two major pathways: the extrinsic pathway, activated by pro-apoptotic receptor signals at the cellular surface; and the intrinsic pathway, which involves the disruption of mitochondrial membrane integrity. This process is strictly controlled in response to integrity of pro-death signaling and plays critical roles in development, maintenance of homeostasis, and host defense in multicellular organisms.

Angiogenesis another natural essential process

The body controls angiogenesis by producing a precise balance of growth and inhibitory factors in healthy tissues.When this balance is disturbed, the result is either too much or too little angiogenesis. Abnormal blood vessel growth, either excessive or insufficient, is now recognized as a “common denominator” underlying many deadly and debilitating conditions, including cancer, skin diseases, age-related blindness, diabetic ulcers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and many others. The list of diseases that have angiogenesis as an underlying mechanism grows longer every year

Angiogenesis-based medicine — restoring the body’s natural control of angiogenesis — is a wide-ranging approach to fighting disease. By using new medical treatments that either inhibit or stimulate angiogenesis, doctors are prolonging the lives of cancer patients, preventing limb amputations, reversing vision loss, and improving general health.

For example, cancerous tumors release angiogenic growth factor proteins that stimulate blood vessels to grow into the tumor, providing it with oxygen and nutrients. A key mechanism of antiangiogenic therapy interferes with the process of blood vessel growth to literally starve the tumor of its blood supply. A new class of cancer treatments that block angiogenesis are now approved and available to treat cancers of the colon, kidney, lung, breast, liver, brain, ovaries, and thyroid, as well as multiple myeloma, bone gastrointestinal stromal tumors, soft tissue sarcoma, and SEGA tumors. Some older drugs have been rediscovered to block angiogenesis, as well. These are being used to treat angiogenesis-dependent conditions, such as hemangiomas, colon polyps, and precancerous skin lesions.


In the U.S., there are currently thirteen approved anti-cancer therapies with recognized antiangiogenic properties in oncology. These agents, which interrupt critical cell signaling pathways involved in tumor angiogenesis and growth, comprise three primary categories:

1) monoclonal antibodies directed against specific proangiogenic growth factors and/or their receptors; and

2) small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) of multiple proangiogenic growth factor receptors;

3) inhibitors of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin).

In addition, at least two other approved angiogenic agents may indirectly inhibit angiogenesis through mechanisms that are not completely understood. Finally, in the field of dermatology, there are several agents used for neoplasms of the skin.

Section C

Phytonutrients and Foods that target cancer stem cell


Cancer stem cells: potential target for bioactive food components.

Kim YS1, Farrar W, Colburn NH, Milner JA.

Author information


Cancer stem cells often have phenotypic and functional characteristics similar to normal stem cells including the properties of self-renewal and differentiation. Recent findings suggest that uncontrolled self-renewal may explain cancer relapses and may represent a critical target for cancer prevention. It is conceivable that the loss of regulatory molecules resulting from inappropriate consumption of specific foods and their constituents may foster the aberrant self-renewal of cancer stem cells. In fact, increasing evidence points to the network delivering signals for self-renewal from extracellular compartments to the nucleus including changes in stem cell environments, inducible expression of microRNAs, hyperplastic nuclear chromatin structures, and the on/off of differentiation process as possible sites of action for bioactive food components. Diverse dietary constituents such as vitamins A and D, genistein, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), sulforaphane, curcumin, piperine, theanine and choline have been shown to modify self-renewal properties of cancer stem cells. The ability of these bioactive food components to influence the balance between proliferative and quiescent cells by regulating critical feedback molecules in the network including dickkopf 1 (DKK-1), secreted frizzled-related protein 2 (sFRP2), B cell-specific Moloney murine leukemia virus integration site 1 (Bmi-1) and cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6) may account for their biological response. Overall, the response to food components does not appear to be tissue or organ specific, suggesting there may be common cellular mechanisms. Unquestionably, additional studies are needed to clarify the physiological role of these dietary components in preventing the resistance of tumor cells to traditional drugs and cancer recurrence.







romote (Section B) and conclude with an analysis on the impact of food on the cancer healing process (Section C)

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