[Interest of lignans in prevention and treatment of cancers.]

January 1, 2008 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

[Interest of lignans in prevention and treatment of cancers.]

Year: 2008
Authors: Lamblin, F., Hano, C., Fliniaux, O., Mesnard, F., Fliniaux, M.A., Lainé, E.
Publication Name: Med Sci (Paris)
Publication Details: Volume 24; Number 5; Pages 511-520.


Lignans are diphenolic compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom. They are mainly localised in lignified tissues, seeds and roots. These molecules are involved in plant defence mechanisms, but are also interesting for human health. Flax lignans belonging to the phytoestrogens are metabolised after ingestion into enterolignans that may offer a protection against the onset and development of hormono-dependant cancers. In vitro studies based on mammalian cellular models tend to confirm their beneficial effects observed during epidemiological studies and give us insights about their mechanisms of action. The most studied lignan, podophyllotoxin, and its semi-synthetic derivatives (etoposide, teniposide, etoposide phosphate), are particularly interesting at a curative level due to their cytotoxic properties. These semi-synthetic derivatives are used in chemotherapy of lung cancer for example. However, the extensive use of these anticancer drugs will lead to the problem of podophyllotoxin supply. This molecule is currently extracted from the rhizomes and roots of an Indian species Podophyllum hexandrum which has subsequently become endangered. Strategies are investigated to obtain economically viable alternative sources of Podophyllotoxin from plants and in vitro cultures of several species. Among them, north american Podophyllum peltatum, Linum wild species, Hyptis, Anthriscus, Juniperus or Dysosma species which accumulate Podophyllotoxin or closely related derivatives, are good candidates. Author's Abstract.

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