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Understanding the therapeutic potential of ascorbic acid in the battle to overcome cancer.


Biomolecules. 2021 Jul 31 ;11(8). Epub 2021 Jul 31. PMID: 34439796

Abstract Title: 

Understanding the Therapeutic Potential of Ascorbic Acid in the Battle to Overcome Cancer.


Cancer, a fatal disease, is also one of the main causes of death worldwide. Despite various developments to prevent and treat cancer, the side effects of anticancer drugs remain a major concern. Ascorbic acid is an essential vitamin required by our bodies for normal physiological function and also has antioxidant and anticancer activity. Although the body cannot synthesize ascorbic acid, it is abundant in nature through foods and other natural sources and also exists as a nutritional food supplement. In anticancer drug development, ascorbic acid has played an important role by inhibiting the development of cancer through various mechanisms, including scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS), selectively producing ROS and encouraging their cytotoxicity against tumour cells, preventing glucose metabolism, serving as an epigenetic regulator, and regulating the expression of HIF in tumour cells. Several ascorbic acid analogues have been produced to date for their anticancer and antioxidant activity. The current review summarizes the mechanisms behind ascorbic acid’s antitumor activity, presents a compilation of its derivatives and their biological activity as anticancer agents, and discusses delivery systems such as liposomes, nanoparticles against cancer, and patents on ascorbic acid as anticancer agents.

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