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Molecular mechanisms of flavonoids in melanin synthesis and the potential for the prevention and treatment of melanoma.

  • Author(s): Liu-Smith, Feng
  • Meyskens, Frank L
  • et al.
Abstract

Flavonoids are becoming popular nutraceuticals. Different flavonoids show similar or distinct biological effects on different tissues or cell types, which may limit or define their usefulness in cancer prevention and/or treatment application. This review focuses on a few selected flavonoids and discusses their functions in normal and transformed pigment cells, including cyanidin, apigenin, genistein, fisetin, EGCG, luteolin, baicalein, quercetin and kaempferol. Flavonoids exhibit melanogenic or anti-melanogenic effects mainly via transcriptional factor MiTF and/or the melanogenesis enzymes tyrosinase, DCT or TYRP-1. To identify a direct target has been a challenge as most studies were not able to discriminate whether the effect(s) of the flavonoid were from direct targeting or represented indirect effects. Flavonoids exhibit an anti-melanoma effect via inhibiting cell proliferation and invasion and inducing apoptosis. The mechanisms are also multi-fold, via ROS-scavenging, immune-modulation, cell cycle regulation and epigenetic modification including DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. In summary, although many flavonoid compounds are extremely promising nutraceuticals, their detailed molecular mechanism and their multi-target (simultaneously targeting multiple molecules) nature warrant further investigation before advancement to translational studies or clinical trials.

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