Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

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.

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.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View