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Phytochemicals that counteract the cardiotoxic side effects of cancer chemotherapy

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Author(s): Anita Piasek | Agnieszka Bartoszek | Jacek Namieśnik

Journal: Postępy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej
ISSN 0032-5449

Volume: 63;
Issue: 835515;
Start page: 142;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: cardiotoxicity | cardioprotection | Doxorubicin | Antioxidants | phytochemicals

ABSTRACT
Almost all clinically used antitumor drugs exhibit toxic side effects affecting heart function. Because of cardiotoxicity during anticancer chemotherapy, effective doses of cytostatics have to be limited, which may worsen antitumor efficacy. The cardiotoxicity induced by cytostatics of the anthracycline group in particular results, among others, from massive stimulation of ROS. It has therefore been suggested that some phytochemicals with high antioxidant potential, when administered together with antitumor agents, could decrease the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and reduce the risk of heart failure. This review summarizes findings of studies undertaken to identify edible plants or phytochemicals isolated from them displaying cardioprotective properties during chemotherapy. Such properties have been shown for such foods as grapes, garlic, tomato, spinach, and beetroot. A protective role on the heart is also displayed by melatonin (a hormone synthesized by the pineal gland, but also present in many edible plants), chalcones (precursors of all known flavonoids), some herbal dietary supplements, vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, and semisynthetic flavonoid 7-monohydroxyethylrutoside (monoHER). Although to date only a limited number of investigations have been carried out, their results suggest that dietary intervention with antioxidants found in edible plants may be a safe and effective way of alleviating the toxicity of anticancer chemotherapy and preventing heart failure.
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