Fucoxanthin Is a Potential Therapeutic Agent for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Tsz Ying Lau, Hiu Yee Kwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common cancers diagnosed and the leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Although there are first-line treatments for BC, drug resistances and adverse events have been reported. Given the incidence of BC keeps increasing, seeking novel therapeutics is urgently needed. Fucoxanthin (Fx) is a dietary carotenoid commonly found in seaweeds and diatoms. Both in vitro and in vivo studies show that Fx and its deacetylated metabolite fucoxanthinol (Fxol) inhibit and prevent BC growth. The NF-κB signaling pathway is considered the major pathway contributing to the anti-proliferation, anti-angiogenesis and pro-apoptotic effects of Fx and Fxol. Other signaling molecules such as MAPK, MMP2/9, CYP and ROS are also involved in the anti-cancer effects by regulating the tumor microenvironment, cancer metastasis, carcinogen metabolism and oxidation. Besides, Fx also possesses anti-obesity effects by regulating UCP1 levels and lipid metabolism, which may help to reduce BC risk. More importantly, mounting evidence demonstrates that Fx overcomes drug resistance. This review aims to give an updated summary of the anti-cancer effects of Fx and summarize the underlying mechanisms of action, which will provide novel strategies for the development of Fx as an anti-cancer therapeutic agent.
Original languageEnglish
Article number370
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmaceutical Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • anti-cancer
  • breast cancer
  • cancer prevention
  • drug resistance
  • fucoxanthin
  • fucoxanthinol
  • marine drug


Dive into the research topics of 'Fucoxanthin Is a Potential Therapeutic Agent for the Treatment of Breast Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this