Putative Mechanism for Anticancer and Apoptosis-Inducing Properties of Plant-Derived Polyphenolic Compounds



Several plant-derived polyphenolic compounds are considered to possess anticancer and apoptosis-inducing properties in cancer cells. Such compounds are recognized as naturally occurring antioxidants but also exhibit prooxidant properties under appropriate conditions. Evidence in the literature suggests that the antioxidant properties of polyphenolics such as gallotannins, curcumin, and resveratrol may not fully account for their chemopreventive effects. We propose a mechanism for the cytotoxic action of these compounds against cancer cells that involves mobilization of endogenous copper and the consequent prooxidant action.