Phytochemicals in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: Cancer Prevention and Epigenetics Mechanisms

Zhi hui Zhou, Jie Yang, Ah Ng Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Cancer is a major public health problem in China, which involves both genetic mutations and epigenetic alterations. Recently, much effort has been exerted to identify epigenetic alterations responsible not only for the initiation of carcinogenesis but also for cancer progression and metastasis; traditional Chinese herbal medicines (TCHMs) have been shown to exert therapeutic effects by targeting epigenetic processes. Recent Findings: In this review, we summarize the studies performed using TCHMs that have been reported to modulate epigenetic mechanisms. The bioactive compounds of TCHMs are listed, and their sources, efficacy, and potential mechanisms are described. Finally, TCHM formulas that have been shown to modulate epigenetic processes are also discussed. Summary: This review discusses the progress of epigenetic alterations in cancer, highlighting the role of TCHMs as potential preventive/therapeutic agents for cancer management, and provides a basis and potential future direction for the development of novel therapeutic drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Pharmacology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


  • Cancer prevention
  • Epigenetics
  • Phytochemicals
  • Traditional Chinese herbal medicine

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