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Anticancer activity and other biomedical properties of β-sitosterol: Bridging phytochemistry and current pharmacological evidence for future translational approaches.

Sterols, including β-sitosterol, are essential components of cellular membranes in both plant and animal cells. Despite being a major phytosterol in various plant materials, comprehensive scientific knowledge regarding the properties of β-sitosterol and its potential applications is essential for scholarly pursuits and utilization purposes. β-sitosterol shares similar chemical characteristics with cholesterol and exhibits several pharmacological activities without major toxicity. This study aims to bridge the gap between phytochemistry and current pharmacological evidence of β-sitosterol, focusing on its anticancer activity and other biomedical properties. The goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of β-sitosterol's potential for future translational approaches. A thorough examination of the literature was conducted to gather relevant information on the biological properties of β-sitosterol, particularly its anticancer therapeutic potential. Various databases were searched, including PubMed/MedLine, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science using appropriate keywords. Studies investigating the effects of β-sitosterol on different types of cancer were analyzed, focusing on mechanisms of action, pharmacological screening, and chemosensitizing properties. Modern pharmacological screening studies have revealed the potential anticancer therapeutic properties of β-sitosterol against various types of cancer, including leukemia, lung, stomach, breast, colon, ovarian, and prostate cancer. β-sitosterol has demonstrated chemosensitizing effects on cancer cells, interfering with multiple cell signaling pathways involved in proliferation, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, survival, metastasis invasion, angiogenesis, and inflammation. Structural derivatives of β-sitosterol have also shown anti-cancer effects. However, research in the field of drug delivery and the detailed mode of action of β-sitosterol-mediated anticancer activities remains limited. β-sitosterol, as a non-toxic compound with significant pharmacological potential, exhibits promising anticancer effects against various cancer types. Despite being relatively less potent than conventional cancer chemotherapeutics, β-sitosterol holds potential as a safe and effective nutraceutical against cancer. Further comprehensive studies are recommended to explore the biological properties of β-sitosterol, including its mode of action, and develop novel formulations for its potential use in cancer treatment. This review provides a foundation for future investigations and highlights the need for further research on β-sitosterol as a potent superfood in combating cancer.

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