Crocetin and crocin from saffron in cancer chemotherapy and chemoprevention. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Crocetin and crocin from saffron in cancer chemotherapy and chemoprevention.
Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018 Dec 30. Epub 2018 Dec 30. PMID: 30599111
Since ancient times herbs and spices have been used with strong roles on cultural heritage and on the appreciation of food and its links to health. Today, an important element of chemoprevention drug development is the new approach that uses specific natural products or plant's derivatives to suppress, reverse or prevent cell premalignant transformation in malignant form. It is also very important to note that suitable chemoprevention natural agents should have low or no toxicity, high efficacy, should be orally administrable, to have a known mechanism of action and low cost compared to the other chemotherapeutic agents. Natural products are composed of a wide spectrum of biologically active phytochemicals as polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids, alkaloid, and so on. Preclinical studies showed that carotenoids have potent antitumor effects both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting potential preventive and/or therapeutic roles. The potential cancer protective effect of carotenoids has been extensively studied mainly in relation to their antioxidant properties, but carotenoids (β-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxantin, crocin and crocetin) have several other biological activities which involve multiple mechanisms promoting the inhibition of malignant tumor growth and the induction of apoptosis. Saffron, the dry stigmas of the Crocus sativus L., is an important source ofcarotenoids and has been used in traditional medicine in various parts of the world. The present review provides an updated overview of experimental in vitro and in vivo investigations on the potential use of saffron's carotenoids: crocin and crocetin in cancer therapy and chemoprevention trials.