Inflammation, cancer, and targets of ginseng

Lorne J. Hofseth, Michael J. Wargovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Chronic inflammation is associated with a high cancer risk. At the molecular level, free radicals and aldehydes, produced during chronic inflammation, can induce deleterious gene mutation and posttranslational modifications of key cancerrelated proteins. Other products of inflammation, including cytokines, growth factors, and transcription factors such as nuclear factor κB, control the expression of cancer genes (e.g., suppressor genes and oncogenes) and key inflammatory enzymes such as inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2. These enzymes in turn directly influence reactive oxygen species and eicosanoid levels. The procancerous outcome of chronic inflammation is increased DNA damage, increased DNA synthesis, cellular proliferation, disruption of DNA repair pathways and cellular milieu, inhibition of apoptosis, and promotion of angiogenesis and invasion. Chronic inflammation is also associated with immunosuppression, which is a risk factor for cancer. Current treatment strategies for reactive species overload diseases are frequently aimed at treating or preventing the cause of inflammation. Although these strategies have led to some progress in combating reactive species overload diseases and associated cancers, exposure often occurs again after eradication, treatment to eradicate the cause fails, or the treatment has long-term side effects. Therefore, the identification of molecules and pathways involved in chronic inflammation and cancer is critical to the design of agents that may help in preventing the progression of reactive species overload disease and cancer associated with disease progression. Here, we use ginseng as an example of an antiinflammatory molecule that targets many of the key players in the inflammation-to-cancer sequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183S-185S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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