Sonia Ramos talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Breaking Paper in the field of
Article Title: Cancer chemoprevention and
chemotherapy: Dietary polyphenols and signalling
Journal: MOL NUTR FOOD RES
Year: MAY 2008
* CSIC, Dept Med & Nutr, Inst Frio, Jose Antonio
Novais 10,Ciudad Univ, E-28040 Madrid, Spain.
* CSIC, Dept Med & Nutr, Inst Frio, E-28040 Madrid,
Why do you think your paper is highly
Cancer is one of the most important causes of human deaths worldwide.
Cancer is largely environmentally determined, diet being a major variable.
Recently, dietary polyphenols have received much attention for their health
benefits, including certain anticancer properties.
Cancer chemoprevention attempts to interfere in the progress of the disease
by using natural or synthetic substances, and its prevention through
dietary intervention has become an important issue.
Many potential chemopreventive polyphenols may interrupt or reverse the
carcinogenesis process by acting on intracellular signaling network
molecules involved in the initiation and/or promotion. Also, phenolic
compounds may arrest or reverse the progression stage of cancer, although
their molecular mechanism of action still remains unclear.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
"Cancer is one of the leading causes
of death worldwide because of the still
limited success in finding its
In this overview, recent studies on representative dietary polyphenols,
dealing with their underlying molecular mechanisms associated with cancer
are reviewed. However, it should be highlighted that, despite the many
remarkable advances in this field, how polyphenols do regulate and induce
these beneficial processes in cancer remains to be elucidated.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide because of the still
limited success in finding its cure. Dietary patterns, foods, nutrients,
and other dietary constituents are closely associated with the risk for
several types of cancer. Thus, an increased intake of fruits and vegetables
represents one of the main preventing actions.
Polyphenols are promising because they can interfere at the initiation,
development, and progression of cancer through the modulation of different
cellular processes alone or in combination with other natural or synthetic
compounds (chemotherapeutic drugs).
Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms of action of these compounds, up to
now only studied in culture cells and animals, are largely unknown and
further investigations are needed.
How did you become involved in this research, and were
there any problems along the way?
Many epidemiological and experimental studies have shown the effect of diet
on health. The relation between the consumption of certain foods and a
reduced risk of some chronic diseases, including cancer, is becoming
In the past few years, a number of studies have focused on polyphenols and
their health-related properties. In this regard, many investigations in
different cell lines, animal models, and human epidemiological studies have
shown the potential of dietary polyphenols as anticarcinogenic agents. Our
research focuses on the study of the mechanism of action of these natural
Where do you see your research leading in the
Future research will help to define the molecular mechanisms underlying the
biological activities of polyphenols and particularly the signaling
pathways set in their potential anticarcinogenic effect.
Do you foresee any social or political implications for
Understanding the molecular mechanism of action of polyphenols will
hopefully allow us (and others) to exploit the capacity of these compounds
for exerting anticarcinogenic effects for preventive and/or therapeutic
use, which may ultimately translate into the generation of novel cancer
Sonia Ramos Rivero, Ph.D. (Tenured
Instituto del Frio (CSIC)