Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
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Academic Editor: Xueji Zhang
Flavonoids are present in many plants, and hence, in foods and ingredients derived from them. These polyphenolic compounds have attracted renewed attention as potential anticarcinogens, and the molecular mechanisms of their anticarcinogenic effects and their bioavailability have been extensively explored. In this review, we focus on the major dietary flavonoids; flavones, flavonols, and flavan-3-ols (catechins), and evaluate their roles in cancer prevention. After absorption with or without metabolic conjugation, flavonoids are transported to target organs where they exert their anticarcinogenic activity. The molecular mechanisms of the anticarcinogenic effects of flavonoids include their antagonistic effect on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and regulation of phase I and II drug metabolizing enzymes and phase III transporters. Experimental evidence suggests that flavonoids modulate signal transduction pathways at each stage of carcinogenesis. The interactions between flavonoids and biomolecules in vivo must be investigated in detail to identify specific targets. In addition, the potential side effects should be considered when flavonoid supplements are used for cancer prevention. Therefore, the use of flavonoids as chemopreventive agents should be further investigated to establish safe levels of flavonoid intake.