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Phytosterols and phytostanols and the hallmarks of cancer: a meta-analysis of pre-clinical animal models
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  • Giorgia Cioccoloni,
  • Chrysa Soteriou,
  • Alex Websdale,
  • Lewis Wallis,
  • Michael Zulyniak,
  • James Thorne
Giorgia Cioccoloni
University of Leeds
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Chrysa Soteriou
University of Leeds
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Alex Websdale
University of Leeds
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Lewis Wallis
University of Leeds
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Michael Zulyniak
University of Leeds
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James Thorne
University of Leeds
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Abstract

Background and Purpose Phytosterols and phytostanols are natural products present in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, or added to consumer food products and intake is inversely associated with incidence and prognosis of several cancers. Randomised cancer prevention trials in humans are unfeasible due to time and cost yet the cellular processes and signalling cascades that underpin anti-cancer effects of these phytochemicals have been explored extensively in vitro and in preclinical in vivo models. Experimental Approach Here we have performed an original systematic review, meta-analysis, and qualitative interpretation of literature published up to June 2020. MEDLINE, Scopus, and hand-searching identified 408 unique records that were screen leading to 32 original articles that had investigated the effects of phytosterols or phytostanols on cancer biology in preclinical models. Data was extracted from 22 publications for meta-analysis. Key Results Phytosterols were most commonly studied and found to reduce primary and metastatic tumour burden in all cancer sites evaluated. Expression of pAKT, and markers of metastasis, angiogenesis, and proliferation were consistently reduced in breast and colorectal cancer. Very high dose treatment (not easily achievable through diet or supplementation in humans) was associated with adverse events including poor gut health and intestinal adenoma development. Conclusion and Implications Phytosterols and phytostanols are already clinically recommended for cardio-vascular disease risk reduction, and represent promising anti-cancer agents that could be delivered in clinic and to the general population at low cost, with a well understood safety profile, and now with a robust understanding of mechanism-of-action.