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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2017, Article ID 7351976, 34 pages
Review Article

Improving In Vivo Efficacy of Bioactive Molecules: An Overview of Potentially Antitumor Phytochemicals and Currently Available Lipid-Based Delivery Systems

1Molecular Oncology and Nutritional Genomics of Cancer, IMDEA Food Institute, CEI UAM+CSIC, Madrid, Spain
2Department of Production and Characterization of Novel Foods, Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL), Campus of International Excellence (CEI) UAM+CSIC, 28049 Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Ana Ramírez de Molina; gro.aedmi@zerimar.ana

Received 29 December 2016; Accepted 6 March 2017; Published 7 May 2017

Academic Editor: Akira Hara

Copyright © 2017 Lamia Mouhid 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.


Cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Many of the chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment exhibit cell toxicity and display teratogenic effect on nontumor cells. Therefore, the search for alternative compounds which are effective against tumor cells but reduce toxicity against nontumor ones is of great importance in the progress or development of cancer treatments. In this sense, scientific knowledge about relevant aspects of nutrition intimately involved in the development and progression of cancer progresses rapidly. Phytochemicals, considered as bioactive ingredients present in plant products, have shown promising effects as potential therapeutic/preventive agents on cancer in several in vitro and in vivo assays. However, despite their bioactive properties, phytochemicals are still not commonly used in clinical practice due to several reasons, mainly attributed to their poor bioavailability. In this sense, new formulation strategies are proposed as carriers to improve their bioefficacy, highlighting the use of lipid-based delivery systems. Here, we review the potential antitumoral activity of the bioactive compounds derived from plants and the current studies carried out in animal and human models. Furthermore, their association with lipids as a formulation strategy to enhance their efficacy in vivo is also reported. The development of high effective bioactive supplements for cancer treatment based on the improvement of their bioavailability goes through this association.