Affiliation: Department of Chemistry,National Changhua University of Education, 1 Ching Der Road, Changhua 50058, Taiwan.
In this review are presented various lead compounds bearing a polyphenolic moiety and their biological targets. The relevance of these targets to develop the desired compounds as potential anti-cancer agents is discussed. For instance, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) has preliminary been studied in our group to hold various biochemical responses. When C6 glioma cells were grown as xenografts in nude mice, treatment with CAPE (1-10 mg/kg; ip) induced a significant dose dependent decrease in tumor growth by evaluating tumor volume and tumor weight. Histochemical and immunohistochemical analysis revealed that CAPE treatment significantly reduced the number of mitotic cells and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive cells in C6 glioma. Moreover, the ability of flavonoids to scavenge free-radicals and block lipid peroxidation raises the possibility that they may act as protective factors against carcinogenesis. Furthermore, protocatechuic acid (PCA) seems to be a promising compound regarded as a candidate group for cancer preventive agents. We have isolated and investigated Hibiscus protocatechuic acid from Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Hibiscus PCA showed against oxidative damage induced by t-butyl hydroperoxide in rat primary hepatocytes, and inhibitory effect on tumor promotion in mouse skin. Finally, we review here recent progress with the analogs of natural and synthetic lead compounds in Asiatic folk medicine. Since phenolic dimmers or trimers are significantly more potent than monomer in vitro and in vivo, a large number of phenolic dimmers or trimers with linker lengths and their pharmacological properties have been investigated.