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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 7207983, 42 pages
Review Article

Phytotherapy and Nutritional Supplements on Breast Cancer

1Fernando Pessoa Energy, Environment, and Health Research Unit/Biomedical Research Center (FP-ENAS/CEBIMED), Faculty of Health Sciences, Fernando Pessoa University, Porto, Portugal
2EMAC (School of Alternative and Complementary Medicines), Porto, Portugal

Correspondence should be addressed to C. M. Lopes; tp.ude.pfu@sepolmc and R. Oliveira; tp.ude.pfu@oatir

Received 5 April 2017; Revised 14 June 2017; Accepted 18 June 2017; Published 6 August 2017

Academic Editor: Gail B. Mahady

Copyright © 2017 C. M. Lopes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Breast cancer is the most frequent type of nonskin malignancy among women worldwide. In general, conventional cancer treatment options (i.e., surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and hormone therapy) are not completely effective. Recurrence and other pathologic situations are still an issue in breast cancer patients due to side effects, toxicity of drugs in normal cells, and aggressive behaviour of the tumours. From this point of view, breast cancer therapy and adjuvant methods represent a promising and challenging field for researchers. In the last few years, the use of some types of complementary medicines by women with a history of breast cancer has significantly increased such as phytotherapeutic products and nutritional supplements. Despite this, the use of such approaches in oncologic processes may be problematic and patient’s health risks can arise such as interference with the efficacy of standard cancer treatment. The present review gives an overview of the most usual phytotherapeutic products and nutritional supplements with application in breast cancer patients as adjuvant approach. Regardless of the contradictory results of scientific evidence, we demonstrated the need to perform additional investigation, mainly well-designed clinical trials in order to establish correlations and allow for further validated outcomes concerning the efficacy, safety, and clinical evidence-based recommendation of these products.