Influence of berry polyphenols on receptor signaling and cell-death pathways: Implications for breast cancer prevention

Harini S. Aiyer, Anni M. Warri, Denzel R. Woode, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, Robert Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. Many women have become more aware of the benefits of increasing fruit consumption, as part of a healthy lifestyle, for the prevention of cancer. The mechanisms by which fruits, including berries, prevent breast cancer can be partially explained by exploring their interactions with pathways known to influence cell proliferation and evasion of cell-death. Two receptor pathways, estrogen receptor (ER) and tyrosine kinase receptors, especially the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family, are drivers of cell proliferation and play a significant role in the development of both primary and recurrent breast cancer. There is strong evidence to show that several phytochemicals present in berries such as cyanidin, delphinidin, quercetin, kaempferol, ellagic acid, resveratrol, and pterostilbene interact with and alter the effects of these pathways. Furthermore, they also induce cell death (apoptosis and autophagy) via their influence on kinase signaling. This review summarizes in vitro data regarding the interaction of berry polyphenols with the specific receptors and the mechanisms by which they induce cell death. This paper also presents in vivo data of primary breast cancer prevention by individual compounds and whole berries. Finally, a possible role for berries and berry compounds in the prevention of breast cancer and a perspective on the areas that require further research are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5693-5708
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 13 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ACI rats
  • apoptosis
  • autophagy
  • berries
  • berry polyphenols
  • breast cancer
  • cyanidin
  • delphinidin
  • ellagic acid
  • epidermal growth factor receptor
  • estrogen receptor
  • kaempferol
  • kinase signaling
  • quercetin
  • resveratrol


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