Molecules. 2020 Dec 27 ;26(1). Epub 2020 Dec 27. PMID: 33375488
Recent Advances on the Anticancer Properties of Saffron (L.) and Its Major Constituents.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally with an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 and a sustained rise in its incidence in both developing and developed countries. According to the WHO, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Despite the emergence of many pioneer therapeutic options for patients with cancer, their efficacy is still time-limited and noncurative. Thus, continuous intensive screening for superior and safer drugs is still ongoing and has resulted in the detection of the anticancer properties of several phytochemicals. Among the spices,L. (saffron) and its main constituents, crocin, crocetin, and safranal, have attracted the interest of the scientific community. Pharmacological experiments have established numerous beneficial properties for this brilliant reddish-orange dye derived from the flowers of a humble crocus family species. Studies in cultured human malignant cell lines and animal models have demonstrated the cancer prevention and antitumor activities of saffron and its main ingredients. This review provides an insight into the advances in research on the anticancer properties of saffron and its components, discussing preclinical data, clinical trials, and patents aiming to improve the pharmacological properties of saffron and its major ingredients.