CHAPTER 18: Nutrition and Liver Cancer Prevention
Published:27 Nov 2019
Liver cancer represents a major public health problem. Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex process that comprises several stages and is caused by multiple factors. Both progressive genetic and epigenetic alterations are described in liver cancer development. The most effective strategy to reduce the impact of this disease is through prevention. In addition to vaccination against HBV and treatment of HCV infection, other preventive measures include avoiding ingesting aflatoxin-contaminated foods and drinking alcoholic beverages, as well as maintaining healthy body weight and practicing physical exercise. Bioactive compounds from fruits and vegetables present great potential for liver cancer chemoprevention. Among them, tea catechins, carotenoids, retinoids, β-ionone, geranylgeraniol and folic acid can be highlighted. In addition, butyric acid, tributyrin and structured lipids based on butyric acid and other fatty acids represent additional promising chemopreventive agents. These bioactive food compounds have been shown to modulate key cellular and molecular processes that are deregulated in hepatocarcinogenesis. Furthermore, combinations of different classes of bioactive food compounds or of bioactive food compounds with synthetic drugs could lead to synergistic liver cancer chemopreventive effects.