Apoptosis interchangeably referred to as programmed cell death is a key pathway for regulating homeostasis and morphogenesis of mammalian cells and is connected with several diseases, in particular, cancer. It is widely believed that misregulation of this pathway leads to the development of cancer. Reflecting this knowledge, the mechanism of action for many currently used anticancer agents were specifically targeted to regulate the apoptotic pathway further stressing the role of programmed cell death in maintaining normal homeostasis. Another widely accepted concept is the consumption of a variety of colorful foods with strong antioxidant properties. These dietary components also referred to as bioactives would help maintain a healthy body. Although for many of these bioactives exact nutritional benefits are not yet well defined, there is demonstrated scientific evidence suggesting a role for them in cancer prevention. This review summarizes the current knowledge of food bioactives that act through the signaling pathway inducing programmed cell death, thus providing the evidence for these substances in cancer prevention.
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