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Perspectives on cancer and phytotherapy: an overview focusing on Polypodium leucotomos therapeutic properties

Journal of Cancer Prevention & Current Research
Pammela Araújo Lacerda, Liliane Marinho Ottoni Costa, Guilherme Cuoghi Bellato, Lucilene Lopes-Santos, Taize M Augusto, Nilva Karla Cervigne


Precision medicines have attempted to delivery novel individual therapy strategies for several human conditions, including cancer. Natural products from plants seem to represent an excellent resource for targeted therapies, as its phytochemicals act outbreaking multiple targets at the same time. Phytochemical and natural botanical extracts such as Polypodium leucotomos (PL), a tropical fern found in Central and South America, demonstrate a strong potential as adjuncts to the therapy of several pathologies. In the present review we aim to report the beneficial use of PL extract, including new preliminary research data from our group studies on PL and cancer disease. A systematic review of the literature was performed focusing on the main properties of PL extracts in the context of its therapeutic effects against some human conditions, demonstrated through experimental models in vitro, in vivo and in clinical trials. The phytotherapy using PL was initially introduced to the market for the treatment of inflammatory changes and other skin diseases such as vitiligo, psoriasis and skin damage caused by UV radiation. P. leucotomos contains several chemical phenolic compounds, which confers therapeutical properties such as: anti-inflammatory action, photoprotective, healing, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, photoaging prevention and antitumor activity, as lately it was described it ability to protect the cellular DNA against mutations that cause cancer. Also, PL oral supplementation acts at a molecular and cellular level to enhance endogenous antioxidant systems and inhibit generation of reactive oxygen species, thus decreasing UV-mediated oxidative DNA mutations, reducing the inflammatory responses and inhibiting extracellular matrix remodeling. The dual usage of PL, as topic cream or as a systemic protective factor, make of it a very interesting phytoterapeutical agent that would provide significant advantages such as a more uniform coverage over the body. Oral administration of PL extracts and its favorable safety profile could have significant implications in the prevention of skin, as well as others types of cancer. Altogether, the results of the studies revised clearly show the beneficial action of PL, and further exploring its role in cancer therapeutical scenario becomes very relevant for future investigations. In conclusion, the target searching of phytochemicals and phytotherapy into cancer precision medicine represents a valuable asset for new therapeutic strategies.


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