Quercetin is a flavonoid present in fruits, vegetables and plants with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Its beneficial activities have been demonstrated in different human pathologies, including hepatoprotective effects against liver disorders. High mortality and late diagnosis of the primary liver tumor hepatocarcinoma (HCC) makes this cancer an interesting target for the study of quercetin effects. Our aim was to systematically review antitumor activities of quercetin in HCC preclinical studies employing single, encapsulated, combined or derived quercetin forms. Literature search was conducted in PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science (WOS), and 39 studies were finally included. We found that 17 articles evaluated quercetin effects alone, six used encapsulated strategy, 10 combined this flavonoid, two decided to co-encapsulate it and only four studied effects of quercetin derivatives, highlighting that only nine included in vivo models. Results evidence the quercetin antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties against HCC either alone and with the mentioned strategies; nevertheless, few investigations assessed specific activities on different processes related with cancer progression. Overall, further studies including animal models are needed to deeper investigate the precise mechanisms of action of quercetin as antitumor agent, as well as the potential of novel strategies aimed to improve quercetin effects in HCC.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited