Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Repeated treatment with chemotherapeutics has resulted in tumors that are resistant to these agents. So, it is becoming necessary to identify natural products that target multiple signaling pathways and cause growth inhibitory effects on human cancer cells without resulting in toxicity issues in normal cells. Curcumin, epigallocatechingallate (EGCG; green tea extract), resveratrol, saponins, silymarin, and grape seed extract (GSE) are some of the phytochemicals with significant anticancer potential that we will be focusing on in this review. Curcumin, a natural diphenolic compound derived from turmeric Curcuma longa, has proven to be a modulator of intracellular signaling pathways that control cancer cell growth, inflammation, invasion and apoptosis, revealing its anticancer potential. EGCG and GSE are two popular plant extracts that have attracted much attention in recent years due to their antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Saponins are a group of naturally occurring plant glycosides, of which at least 150 kinds of natural saponins have been found to possess significant anticancer properties. Silymarin, a mixture of mainly three flavonolignans (silybin, silychristin and silydianin), is extracted from the milk thistle and possesses potential biological properties. Even though these agents are potent anticancer agents, they are limited by their solubility, hydrophobicity, and low bioavailability. Polymeric nanocarriers provide an efficient platform for overcoming the factors that limit application of phytochemicals as therapeutic agents. This review focuses on the development of phytochemical-loaded polymeric nanoparticles and their application as potential anticancer therapeutic agents.
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S. Maya, Sabitha, M., Nair, S. V., and Dr. Jayakumar Rangasamy, “Phytomedicine-Loaded Polymeric Nanomedicines: Potential Cancer Therapeutics”, in Multifaceted Development and Application of Biopolymers for Biology, Biomedicine and Nanotechnology, P. K. Dutta and Dutta, J. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2013, pp. 203–239.