MOLECULAR BIOLOGY REPORTS, vol.41, no.10, pp.6909-6917, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
Apoptotic response in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells is impaired because of interconnectivity of proteins into complexes and signaling networks that are highly divergent in time and space. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has emerged as an attractive anticancer agent reported to selectively induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Although diametrically opposed roles of TRAIL are reported both as an inducer of apoptosis and regulator of metastasis, overwhelmingly accumulating experimental evidence highlighting apoptosis inducing activity of TRAIL is directing TRAIL into clinical trials. Insights from TRAIL mediated signaling in HCC research are catalyzing new lines of study that should not only explain molecular mechanisms of disease but also highlight emerging paradigms in restoration of TRAIL mediated apoptosis in resistant cancer cells. It is becoming progressively more understandable that phytochemicals derived from edible plants have shown potential in modelling their interactions with their target proteins. Rapidly accumulating in vitro and in-vivo evidence indicates that phytonutrients have anticancer activity in rodent models of hepatocellular carcinoma. In this review we bring to limelight how phytonutrients restore apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells by rebalancing pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins. Evidence has started to emerge, that reveals how phytonutrients target pharmacologically intractable proteins to suppress cancer. Target-based small-molecule discovery has entered into the mainstream research in the pharmaceutical industry and a better comprehension of the genetics of patients will be essential for identification of responders and non-responders.