Dr. Arif Hussain
Professor and Chairperson, School of Life Sciences, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai, UAE
Carcinogenesis is a multistep, multiple-stage process that includes a sequence of events including genomic and epigenetic alterations leading to the development of cancers. Epigenetic alterations are reversible and hence focus on research. The two best-characterized epigenetic modulations are DNA methylation and histone modifications. Various dietary agents have the potential to modulate these epigenetic alterations. Chemoprevention refers to the use of natural, synthetic or biological compounds or their combinations to disturb the progression of cancer development. Chemoprevention by an increased ingesting of vegetables and fruits is the most encouraged and affordable strategy to prevent and decrease the incidence of cancer. Over the last few decades, more than 10,000 polyphenols occurring in plants have been identified and characterized. They are comprised of numerous subclasses including flavonoids, stilbenes phenolic acids, etc. Polyphenols such as sulforaphane, genistein, curcumin, have shown their chemopreventive outcome by targeting various hallmarks of cancer due to their ability to modulate multiple key proteins which are involved in the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, signal transduction pathways, angiogenesis or metastasis and modulation of epigenetic alterations. In vitro and in- vivo studies are required to prove the safety profile of these agents in order to develop them for therapeutic purposes and natural epigenetic modifiers.