Carcinogenesis, a multi-step phenomenon, characterized by alterations at genetic level and affecting the main intracellular pathways controlling cell growth and development. There are growing number of evidences linking oncogenes to the induction of malignancies, especially breast cancer. Modulations of oncogenes lead to gain-of-function signals in the cells and contribute to the tumorigenic phenotype. These signals yield a large number of proteins that cause cell growth and inhibit apoptosis. Transcription factors such as STAT, p53, NF-κB, c-JUN and FOXM1, are proteins that are conserved among species, accumulate in the nucleus, bind to DNA and regulate the specific genes targets. Oncogenic transcription factors resulting from the mutation or overexpression following aberrant gene expression relay the signals in the nucleus and disrupt the transcription pattern. Activation of oncogenic transcription factors is associated with control of cell cycle, apoptosis, migration and cell differentiation. Among different cancer types, breast cancer is one of top ten cancers worldwide. There are different subtypes of breast cancer cell-lines such as non-aggressive MCF-7 and aggressive and metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells, which are identified with distinct molecular profile and different levels of oncogenic transcription factor. For instance, MDA-MB-231 carries mutated and overexpressed p53 with its abnormal, uncontrolled downstream signalling pathway that account for resistance to several anticancer drugs compared to MCF-7 cells with wild-type p53. Appropriate enough, inhibition of oncogenic transcription factors has become a potential target in discovery and development of anti-tumour drugs against breast cancer. Plants produce diverse amount of organic metabolites. Universally, these metabolites with biological activities are known as "natural products". The chemical structure and function of natural products have been studied since 1850s. Investigating these properties leaded to recognition of their molecular effects as anticancer drugs. Numerous natural products extracted from plants, fruits, mushrooms and mycelia, show potential inhibitory effects against several oncogenic transcription factors in breast cancer. Natural compounds that target oncogenic transcription factors have increased the number of candidate therapeutic agents. This review summarizes the current findings of natural products in targeting specific oncogenic transcription factors in breast cancer.
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