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Anti-Cancer Properties of Theaflavins

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
Centre for Bone and Muscle Health, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Robert Kubina and Agata Kabała-Dzik
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 987;
Received: 11 January 2021 / Revised: 9 February 2021 / Accepted: 10 February 2021 / Published: 13 February 2021
Cancer is a disease characterized by aberrant proliferative and apoptotic signaling pathways, leading to uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells combined with enhanced survival and evasion of cell death. Current treatment strategies are sometimes ineffective in eradicating more aggressive, metastatic forms of cancer, indicating the need to develop novel therapeutics targeting signaling pathways which are essential for cancer progression. Historically, plant-derived compounds have been utilized in the production of pharmaceuticals and chemotherapeutic compounds for the treatment of cancer, including paclitaxel and docetaxel. Theaflavins, phenolic components present in black tea, have demonstrated anti-cancer potential in cell cultures in vitro and in animal studies in vivo. Theaflavins have been shown to inhibit proliferation, survival, and migration of many cancer cellswhile promoting apoptosis. Treatment with theaflavins has been associated with increased levels of cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and cleaved caspases-3, -7, -8, and -9, all markers of apoptosis, and increased expression of the proapoptotic marker Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) and concomitant reduction in the antiapoptotic marker B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2). Additionally, theaflavin treatment reduced phosphorylated Akt, phosphorylated mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), and c-Myc levels with increased expression of the tumour suppressor p53. This review summarizes the current in vitro and in vivo evidence available investigating the anti-cancer effects of theaflavins across various cancer cell lines and animal models. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer; nutraceuticals; theaflavins; polyphenols; apoptosis; black tea cancer; nutraceuticals; theaflavins; polyphenols; apoptosis; black tea
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MDPI and ACS Style

O’Neill, E.J.; Termini, D.; Albano, A.; Tsiani, E. Anti-Cancer Properties of Theaflavins. Molecules 2021, 26, 987.

AMA Style

O’Neill EJ, Termini D, Albano A, Tsiani E. Anti-Cancer Properties of Theaflavins. Molecules. 2021; 26(4):987.

Chicago/Turabian Style

O’Neill, Eric J., Deborah Termini, Alexandria Albano, and Evangelia Tsiani. 2021. "Anti-Cancer Properties of Theaflavins" Molecules 26, no. 4: 987.

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