Cancer Protective Properties of Tannic Acids

Cancer Protective Properties of Tannic Acids

Cancer is a condition in which some body cells start to divide uncontrollably and spread into nearby tissues. It can begin in any part of the body that can involve trillions of cells. The damaged and old cells continue to exist and new cells arise without need. The extra cells divide nonstop to form tumors.

This complex process of carcinogenesis is long and the cancer can be possibly combated at the most early stages. The carcinogenic progression can be prevented by using natural or synthetic substances including tannic acid.

Today we will discuss the cancer protective properties of tannic acid:

  • What is Tannic acid?
  •  Role of tannic acid in cancer prevention
  • Conclusion

What is Tannic acid?

Tannic acid is a particular tannin, which is present in various foods such as wine, tea, fruits and vegetables. It has anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to promote good health. It is considered to prevent various medical conditions including heart disease and cancer. Its role in inhibition of carcinogens activation is demonstrated in many studies.  

Role of tannic acid in cancer prevention

Following are some of the results from studies that describe the action of tannic acid in cancer prevention.

  • Recent studies have shown the cell cycle arrest, reduced rate of proliferation, apoptosis induction, and adhesion of several cancer cell lines and cell migration as an outcome of treatment with tannic acid.

The mechanisms highlighted involve modulation of signaling pathways or inhibition of PKM2 glycolytic enzyme.

  • Furthermore, epithelial-to-mesenchymal change prevention and reduction of cancer stem cells production is also demonstrated. Also, tannic acid is reported to be a strong chemosensitizer that defeats the multidrug fight.

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a self-controlled, physiological progression through which epithelial cells separate from each other, and transfer into a mesenchymal phenotype. The EMT is vital in tissue regeneration, embryogenesis and wound healing. Otherwise the uncontrolled situations can result in angiogenesis, fibrosis and tumor development.

  •  Another study has revealed that the treatment with tannic acid prevents TGFβ-induced EMT in breast cancer cells and lung epithelial cells. The direct relation among TA and TGF-β1 was seen decreasing the TGF-β signaling. In the breast cancer cell line model, tannic acid is also found to prevent the TGFβ-induced enhancement in cancer stem cells development.
  • Tannic acid is also demonstrated to decrease the NF-κB signaling that can result in decreased EMT and CSC formation. Also, the inhibition of NF-κB signaling by tannic acid in bone marrow inhibited the NLRP3 inflammasome activation.


Tannic acids have shown its effects in hindering the carcinogenesis initiation in earlier studies. In recent studies it is concluded that the tannic acid may be vital for cancer therapy including prevention of EMT or reduction in cancer stem cell formation. Also, it is found that tannic acid may enhance the cancer cells sensitization to anticancer drugs, which will eventually assist in conquering multidrug resistance.

Therefore, incorporating tannic acid containing food items in diet may help to prevent cancer up to certain extent.

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