Punicalagin in Cancer Prevention—Via Signaling Pathways Targeting

Izabela Berdowska 1,* , Małgorzata Matusiewicz 1,* and Izabela Fecka 2

1 Department of Medical Biochemistry, Wroclaw Medical University, Chałubi ´nskiego 10, 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland
2 Department of Pharmacognosy and Herbal Medicines, Wroclaw Medical University, Borowska 211A, 50-556 Wroclaw, Poland; izabela.fecka@umed.wroc.pl
* Correspondence: izabela.berdowska@umed.wroc.pl (I.B.); malgorzata.matusiewicz@umed.wroc.pl (M.M.);
Tel.: +48-71-784-13-92 (I.B.); +48-71-784-13-70 (M.M.)

The extract of pomegranate (Punica granatum) has been applied in medicine since ancient times due to its broad-spectrum healthbeneficial properties. It is a rich source of hydrolyzable tannins and anthocyanins, exhibiting strong antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic properties.Anticancer activities of pomegranate with reference to modulated signaling pathways in various cancer dis eases have been recently reviewed. However, less is known about punicalagin (Pug), a prevailing compound in pomegranate, seemingly responsible for its most beneficial properties. In this review, the newest data derived from recent scientific reports addressing Pug impact on neoplastic cells are summarized and discussed. Its attenuating effect on signaling circuits promoting cancer growth and invasion is depicted. The Pug-induced redirection of signal-transduction pathways from survival and proliferation into cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis, senescence, and autophagy (thus compromising neoplastic progression) is delineated. Considerations presented in this review are based mainly on data obtained from in vitro cell line models and concern the influence of Pug on human cervical, ovarian, breast, lung, thyroid, colorectal, central nervous system, bone, as well as other cancer types.

Keywords: punicalagin; pomegranate; ellagitannins; breast cancer; cervical cancer; ovarian cancer; colorectal cancer; thyroid cancer; apoptosis; autophagy