Chemopreventive practices in traditional medicine

J. Ekowati, R. Widyowati, Norhayati, S. K. Jain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Chemotherapy is routinely used for the treatment of cancer. However, chemotherapy treatments, for example, 5-fluorouracil, doxorubicin, bleomycin, and cyclophosphamide, give various kinds of side effects and toxicity. To hinder the development of carcinogenic tumours, some patients in developing countries take traditional medicine as chemoprevention, an alternative, complementary, and supportive therapy, in spite of following the standard therapy protocol. Several traditional medicines from China, India, and Egypt are known for this purpose. There are some plants used as chemopreventive agents with several formulas such as Annona muricata, Curcuma longa, Curcuma xanthorrhiza, Curcuma zedoaria, Euphorbia abyssinica, Garcinia mangostana, Gynura procumbens, Kaempferia galanga, Morinda citrifolia, Moringa oleifera, Nigella sativa, Phyllanthus urinaria, and Zingiber officinale. Various numbers of Annona muricata extracts demonstrated anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo. Acting as a p53 regulator and pro-oxidant in MCF-7 cells, and also as a fatty acid synthase inhibitor in MDA-MB-231 cells, curcumin is collected from Curcuma longa and Curcuma xanthorrhiza. Through modulation of Bcl-2, p53, and PARP-1 protein levels, xanthorrhizol from Curcuma xanthorrhiza has pro-apoptotic activity. Curcumenone, curcumenol, and curdion, which are from Curcuma zedoaria, display pro-apoptotic activity in various cancer-induced cell lines and mouse models. The apoptotic effect induced by corilagin is mediated by extrinsic and mitochondrial pathways, whereas the apoptotic effect induced by geraniin is mediated by ROS-mediated stimulation, both in MCF-7 cells. However, the pro-apoptotic effects of corilagin and geraniin from Phyllanthus urinaria are distinct. Nigella sativa extract contains some active ingredients, including thymoquinone, which can extend the time of DMBA-induced tumour formation in mice. Active compounds from Kaempferia galanga can inhibit carcinogenesis by inhibiting proliferation of cell lines and also angiogenesis. Based on the above data, the use of chemoprevention in inhibiting carcinogenesis has a very good prospect for further development of sustainable food sources.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReference Series in Phytochemistry
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameReference Series in Phytochemistry
ISSN (Print)2511-834X
ISSN (Electronic)2511-8358


  • Angiogenesis
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiproliferation
  • Apoptosis
  • Chemopreventive
  • Traditional medicine


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