Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality and disability worldwide. Although great advances in cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation are currently being achieved, their application is associated with numerous and expensive adverse side effects. Epidemiological evidence has demonstrated that the consumption of certain foods potentially prevents up to 35% of cancer cases. Bioactive components are ubiquitous in nature, also in dietary food, providing an essential link in health maintenance, promotion, and prevention of chronic diseases, such as cancer. Development of bioactive proteins and peptides is a current and innovative strategy for cancer prevention/cure. A growing body of anticancer protein and peptides from natural sources has shown the ability to reduce tumor progression through multiple mechanisms including apoptotic, antiproliferative, antiangiogenic, and immunomodulatory activities. This review is focused on proteins and peptides from different food sources including plants, milk, egg, and marine organisms in which chemopreventive properties have been demonstrated. Other aspects such as mechanism of action, bioavailability, and identification and characterization of food-derived peptides by advance separated technologies are also included. This review highlights the potential application of food-derived peptides as functional food ingredients and pharmaceutical candidates in the auxiliary therapy of cancer.
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