Flavonoids and Cancer

Animal studies in rodents have demonstrated that flavonoids have anticar-cinogenic efficacy in reducing the number of chemically induced tumors and the growth of implanted cancer cell lines.62 The most probable chemopre-ventive mechanisms of action include modulating cytochrome P450 enzymes to prevent carcinogen activation and increasing the expression of Phase II conjugating enzymes to facilitate carcinogen excretion.63 Some flavonoids also appear to have the capability of reducing cell proliferation by inhibiting protein kinase C and AP-1-dependent transcriptional activity to block growth-related signal transduction.64 Yet other flavonoids can limit the initiation of cancer cells by stimulating DNA repair systems.65

A dozen prospective and case-control studies in Finland, the Netherlands, and the United States have found no consistent trend and association between flavonoids and cancer risk for any forms of cancer or for total cancers.66 However, the twenty-four-year follow-up data from the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey of 9,959 people showed high flavonol and flavone intakes reduce risk for lung cancer for men and for women.67 As mentioned earlier, the ATBC Cancer Prevention Study of 27,110 Finnish men, shows a significant reduction in lung cancer risk after a 6.1-year follow-up among those with the highest flavonol and flavone intake. The Iowa Women's Health Study, observing 34,651 subjects, found a decline in rectal cancer with flavanol intake that did not extend to colon cancer.68

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