Nutrition and Cancer From Epidemiology to Biology

Capsaicin: Potential Applications in Cancer Therapy

Author(s): Jamie K. Lau, Kathleen C. Brown, Aaron M. Dom and Piyali Dasgupta

Pp: 15-25 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805447311201010015

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Capsaicin is an active ingredient of chili peppers. Although traditionally associated with chemopreventive and anti-carcinogenic activity, recent studies have shown that capsaicin has profound anti-neoplastic effects in several types of human cancer cells. The biological activity of capsaicin is mediated by the transient receptor potential vanilloid [TRPV] superfamily of ion channel receptors. Specifically, capsaicin is an agonist of the TRPV1 receptor. The growth-inhibitory properties of capsaicin have been found to be mediated by TRPV1-dependent and independent mechanisms. Experiments in multiple animal models have demonstrated that the anti-cancer activity of capsaicin is not associated with any discomfort or toxicity. The present review summarizes the current knowledge on the growth-inhibitory activity of capsaicin and discusses the signaling pathways underlying its anticancer effects. Future studies involving the design of capsaicin-mimetics with improved selectivity may represent novel strategies in the treatment of human cancers.

Keywords: Angiogenesis, Apoptosis, Autophagy, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Capsaicin, Cell Cycle, Cell Migration, Chili Peppers, Colon Cancer, Diet, Food, Lung Cancer, Nutrition, Prostate Cancer.

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