The role of Sulforaphane in cancer chemoprevention and health benefits: a mini-review

Abstract

Cancer is a multi-stage process resulting from aberrant signaling pathways driving uncontrolled proliferation of transformed cells. The development and progression of cancer from a premalignant lesion towards a metastatic tumor requires accumulation of mutations in many regulatory genes of the cell. Different chemopreventative approaches have been sought to interfere with initiation and control malignant progression. Here we present research on dietary compounds with evidence of cancer prevention activity that highlights the potential beneficial effect of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables. The Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli is a rich source of glucosinolates, which are metabolized to isothiocyanate compounds. Amongst a number of related variants of isothiocyanates, sulforaphane (SFN) has surfaced as a particularly potent chemopreventive agent based on its ability to target multiple mechanisms within the cell to control carcinogenesis. Anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic and modulation of histones are some of the more important and known mechanisms by which SFN exerts chemoprevention. The effect of SFN on cancer stem cells is another area of interest that has been explored in recent years and may contribute to its chemopreventive properties. In this paper, we briefly review structure, pharmacology and preclinical studies highlighting chemopreventive effects of SFN.

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Change history

  • 26 August 2017

    An erratum to this article has been published.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. Bikul Das, M.D., Ph.D. (The Forsyth Institute; Cambridge, MA) for critical review of the manuscript.

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Analysis and interpretation of the data: RBM, NB, HY; writing of the manuscript: RBM, NB, TSH, ZM, SK, PK and critical revision of the manuscript for intellectual content: RBM, NB, HY.

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Correspondence to Reza Bayat Mokhtari or Herman Yeger.

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None of the authors have any competing interests in the manuscript.

Additional information

The original version of this article was revised: The Forsyth Institute was removed from the institution list of Reza Bayat Mokhtari. The given name of the 4th author was corrected from Zhenya to Evgeniya.

An erratum to this article is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12079-017-0408-4.

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Bayat Mokhtari, R., Baluch, N., Homayouni, T.S. et al. The role of Sulforaphane in cancer chemoprevention and health benefits: a mini-review. J. Cell Commun. Signal. 12, 91–101 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12079-017-0401-y

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Keywords

  • Chemopreventive agents
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Sulforaphane