Chapter 9

Isothiocyanates Target Carcinogenesis During Tumor Initiation, Promotion and Progression

Mary Allison Wolf and Pier Paolo Claudio


Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are phytochemicals produced from the hydrolysis of glucosinolates, which are found at high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables. Vegetables of the Cruciferae family include, among others, broccoli, cauliflower, gardencress, watercress, and cabbage. A number of studies using animal models have suggested that certain ITCs are capable of preventing breast, lung, and prostate carcinogenesis. Additionally, certain ITCs such as sulforaphane (SFN), benzyl (BITC), and phenethyl (PEITC) isothiocyanate have been shown to elicit strong chemotherapeutic properties. SFN, BITC, and PEITC are suggested to target several cellular pathways that inhibit growth, induce apoptosis, and prevent migration, and are presently being investigated for their therapeutic potential. Work on ITCs is progressing quickly from bench to beside, and currently there are several ongoing clinical trials. One study is investigating PEITC’s ability to inhibit lung carcinogenesis, while another trial is investigating how PEITC affects lymphoproliferative disorders, specifically in patients who have received the chemotherapeutic drug, fludarabine. Additionally, a Phase II clinical trial is investigating whether SFN can modulate the level of prostate specific antigen in patients with recurrent prostate cancer. This chapter will give an overview of the previously mentioned ITCs, and their reported ability to inhibit carcinogenesis in vivo and in vitro at three stages: initiation, promotion, and progression.

Total Pages: 98-107 (10)

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