Rosa LS, Silva NJA, Soares NCP, Monteiro MC and Teodoro AJ
Consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of several cancers, particularly colorectal cancer, which is mainly associated to their phytochemical content. A diverse range of phytochemicals, especially phenolic compounds, has been reported to possess important biological properties such as anticancer, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Several factors contribute to the development of colorectal cancer. The scientific evidences support the genetic predisposition, diet, and lifestyle as some of the major contributing factors for colorectal cancer development. In this sense, this review aims to summarize the anticancer activities and the proposed mechanisms of action of phenolic acids with an emphasis in colon cancer through in vitro evidences. The evidences supports the theory of anticancer properties of phenolic acids, although the mechanisms are still not fully understood, but may include scavenging free radicals, induction of enzymes involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics, regulation of gene expression, modulation of cellular signaling pathways including those involved in DNA damage repair, cell proliferation, apoptosis and invasion.