Apigenin in cancer therapy: Anti-cancer effects and mechanisms of action

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Apigenin is a common dietary flavonoid that is abundantly present in many fruits, vegetables and Chinese medicinal herbs and serves multiple physiological functions, such as strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral activities and blood pressure reduction. Therefore, apigenin has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries. Recently, apigenin has been widely investigated for its anti-cancer activities and low toxicity. Apigenin was reported to suppress various human cancers in vitro and in vivo by multiple biological effects, such as triggering cell apoptosis and autophagy, inducing cell cycle arrest, suppressing cell migration and invasion, and stimulating an immune response. In this review, we focus on the most recent advances in the anti-cancer effects of apigenin and their underlying mechanisms, and we summarize the signaling pathways modulated by apigenin, including the PI3K/AKT, MAPK/ERK, JAK/STAT, NF-ΚB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways. We also discuss combinatorial strategies to enhance the anti-cancer effect of apigenin on various cancers and its use as an adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent to overcome cancer drug resistance or to alleviate other adverse effects of chemotherapy. The functions of apigenin against cancer stem cells are also summarized and discussed. These data demonstrate that apigenin is a promising reagent for cancer therapy. Apigenin appears to have the potential to be developed either as a dietary supplement or as an adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent for cancer therapy.




Yan, X., Qi, M., Li, P., Zhan, Y., & Shao, H. (2017, October 5). Apigenin in cancer therapy: Anti-cancer effects and mechanisms of action. Cell and Bioscience. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13578-017-0179-x

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