Prevention and treatment of cancers by immune modulating nutrients

Naveena B. Janakiram, Altaf Mohammed, Venkateshwar Madka, Gaurav Kumar, Chinthalapally V. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Epidemiological and laboratory data support the protective effects of bioactive nutrients in our diets for various diseases. Along with various factors, such as genetic history, alcohol, smoking, exercise, and dietary choices play a vital role in affecting an individual's immune responses toward a transforming cell, by either preventing or accelerating a neoplastic transformation. Ample evidence suggests that dietary nutrients control the inflammatory and protumorigenic responses in immune cells. Immunoprevention is usually associated with the modulation of immune responses that help in resolving the inflammation, thus improving clinical outcome. Various metabolic pathway-related nutrients, including glutamine, arginine, vitamins, minerals, and long-chain fatty acids, are important components of immunonutrient mixes. Epidemiological studies related to these substances have reported different results, with no or minimal effects. However, several studies suggest that these nutrients may have immune-modulating effects that may lower cancer risk. Preclinical studies submit that most of these components may provide beneficial effects. The present review discusses the available data, the immune-modulating functions of these nutrients, and how these substances could be used to study immune modulation in a neoplastic environment. Further research will help to determine whether the mechanistic signaling pathways in immune cells altered by nutrients can be exploited for cancer prevention and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1294
Number of pages20
JournalMolecular nutrition & food research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioactive agents
  • Cancer
  • Immune modulation
  • Macronutrients
  • Phytochemicals


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