Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death globally. Despite many advanced approaches to treat cancer, they are often ineffective due to resistance to classical anti-cancer drugs and distant metastases. Currently, alternative medicinal agents derived from plants are the major interest due to high bioavailability and fewer adverse effects. Tannins are polyphenolic compounds existing as specialized products in a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Many tannins have been found to possess protective properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, and so on. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge addressing the anti-cancer effects of dietary tannins and their underlying molecular mechanisms. In vivo and in vitro studies provide evidences that anti-cancer effects of various tannins are predominantly mediated through negative regulation of transcription factors, growth factors, receptor kinases, and many oncogenic molecules. In addition, we also discussed the absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADMET) properties of tannins, clinical trial results as well as our perspective on future research with tannins.
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