Phytochemicals: Current Strategies for Treating Breast Cancer (review)

Funding Source

National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Grant Number

DBI-0829236, D34HP00006, 1SC2GM099599-01A1, 8UL1GM118967,5G12MD007595, U54MD008149,13-14-MB-G007RN0A-XU-KPL, G12MD007582, 8G12MD007595-04


Department of Chemistry

Document Type


Publication Date



Females with early-stage metastatic, estrogen-dependent breast cancer are generally treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, or with more targeted approaches such as aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole or letrozole) or anti-estrogens (tamoxifen). Despite widespread successful usage of these agents for the treatment of breast cancer, resistance, tumor relapse and metastasis remain the principal causes of mortality for patients with breast cancer. While numerous groups have made major contributions toward an improved understanding of resistance mechanisms, the currently insufficient grasp of the most critical pathways involved in resistance is evident in the inability to adequately treat and drastically improve patient outcomes in females with hormone-refractory breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer. Therefore, further investigation of novel therapeutic approaches is paramount to reveal previously unconsidered agents that could be utilized to treat metastatic disease. Numerous naturally occurring phytochemicals have recently gained interest as potential therapeutic breast cancer agents appear to directly affect estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cell proliferation, potentially via affecting breast cancer stem cell populations. While numerous natural compounds have exhibited promise, they are limited by their bioavailability. Therefore, to effectively treat future hormone-refractory breast tumors, it is critical to adequately refine and formulate these agents for effective therapeutic use and delivery. Herein, the literature on the current state of phytochemicals is reviewed, including their limitations and potential as targeted therapies for breast cancer.


DOI: 10.3892/ol.2018.8304

Funding text

This study was supported through funds providing researchers with release time in part by the NIH (grant no. 1SC2GM099599-01A1; SLT) and the Florida A&M NIH RCMI grant G12MD007582; BBI and SLT). Funding was also received from the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium and the NIH-RCMI (grant no. 8G12MD007595-04) from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and (grant nos. U54MD008149 and G12MD007582, sub-award 13-14-MB-G007RN0A-XU-KPL; KPL), the Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services (grant no. D34HP00006; IBB), the National Science Foundation (grant no. DBI-0829236; IBB), the NIGMS-BUILD (grant no. 8UL1GM118967; FPS) and the RCMI (grant no. 5G12MD007595; FPS) from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views ...