The Role of Methionine in Carcinogenesis in Vivo

  • Lionel A. Poirier

Abstract

The effects of methionine on carcinogenesis and tumor development have been studied intermittently for over 35 years. These studies have generally shown that methionine confers some degree of protection against the development of liver tumors by hepatocarcinogens. Such protective effects by supplemental dietary methionine are more pronounced in animals fed methionine- and choline-deficient diets rather than methionine- and choline-adequate diets. To date few if any protective effects of methionine have been observed against tumor formation in extrahepatic tissues. The effects of methionine on hepatocarcinogenesis appear to correlate well with its effects on the liver content of S-adenosylmethionine, the chief physiologic methyl donor. Perturbation of the methyl pool is known to alter the extent of methylation of membrane phospholipids, RNA, and DNA. Thus several plausible mechanisms by which methionine may modify the carcinogenic process center upon the aberrant methylation of macromolecules.

Keywords

Folate Aflatoxin Phosphatidylcholine Lecithin Betaine 

Abbreviations

SAM

S-adenosylmethionine

SAH

S-adenosylhomocysteine

DAB

N,N-dimethyl-4-aminoazobenzene

AAF

2-acetylaminofluorene

DEN

diethylnitrosamine

PhB

Phenobarbital

5-MC

5-methyldeoxycytidine

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel A. Poirier
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutrition and Metabolism Section, Laboratory of Chemical CarcinogenesisNCI-Frederick Cancer Research FacilityFrederickUSA

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