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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6475624, 17 pages
Review Article

Polyphenols as Modulator of Oxidative Stress in Cancer Disease: New Therapeutic Strategies

Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy

Received 22 May 2015; Accepted 21 July 2015

Academic Editor: Amit Tyagi

Copyright © 2016 Anna Maria Mileo and Stefania Miccadei. 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 onset and progression have been linked to oxidative stress by increasing DNA mutations or inducing DNA damage, genome instability, and cell proliferation and therefore antioxidant agents could interfere with carcinogenesis. It is well known that conventional radio-/chemotherapies influence tumour outcome through ROS modulation. Since these antitumour treatments have important side effects, the challenge is to develop new anticancer therapeutic strategies more effective and less toxic for patients. To this purpose, many natural polyphenols have emerged as very promising anticancer bioactive compounds. Beside their well-known antioxidant activities, several polyphenols target epigenetic processes involved in cancer development through the modulation of oxidative stress. An alternative strategy to the cytotoxic treatment is an approach leading to cytostasis through the induction of therapy-induced senescence. Many anticancer polyphenols cause cellular growth arrest through the induction of a ROS-dependent premature senescence and are considered promising antitumour therapeutic tools. Furthermore, one of the most innovative and interesting topics is the evaluation of efficacy of prooxidant therapies on cancer stem cells (CSCs). Several ROS inducers-polyphenols can impact CSCs metabolisms and self-renewal related pathways. Natural polyphenol roles, mainly in chemoprevention and cancer therapies, are described and discussed in the light of the current literature data.