Sulforaphane as a Promising Molecule for Fighting Cancer

Conference paper
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 159)

Abstract

Cancer is a complex disease characterized by multiple genetic and molecular alterations involving transformation, deregulation of apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. To grow, invade, and metastasize, tumors need host components and primary dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment, in addition to cell dysfunction, can be crucial for carcinogenesis. A great variety of phytochemicals have been shown to be potentially capable of inhibiting and modulating several relevant targets simultaneously and is therefore non-specific. Because of the enormous biological diversity of cancer, this pleiotropism might constitute an advantage. Phytochemicals, in particular diet-derived compounds, have therefore been proposed and applied in clinical trials as cancer chemopreventive/chemotherapeutic agents. Sulforaphane (SFN) is an isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables. SFN has proved to be an effective chemoprotective agent in cell culture, in carcinogen-induced and genetic animal cancer models, as well as in xenograft models of cancer. It promoted potent cytostatic and cytotoxic effects orchestrated by the modulation of different molecular targets. Cell vulnerability to SFN-mediated apoptosis was subject to regulation by cell-cycle-dependent mechanisms but was independent of a mutated p53 status. Moreover, combination of SFN with cytotoxic therapy potentiated the cytotoxic effect mediated by chemotherapy in vitro, thus suggesting its potential therapeutic benefit in clinical settings. Overall, SFN appears to be an effective and safe chemopreventive molecule and a promising tool to fight cancer.

Keywords

Sulforaphane Isothiocyanates Phase I and II enzymes Angiogenesis Metastatic process 

Abbreviations

SFN

Sulforaphane

ITCs

Isothiocyanates

CYP

Cytochrome P450

GST

Glutathione-S-transferase

UGT

UDP-glucuronosyltransferase

NQO1

NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1

Keap 1

Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1

GSH

Glutathione

HCA

Heterocyclic amines

PhIP

2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine

CDK

Cyclin-dependent kinase

HDAC

Histone deacetylase

VEGF

Vascular endothelial growth factor

MMP

Metalloprotease

Nrf2

Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2

Hif-1 α

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 α

HO-1

Heme oxygenase-1

ARE

Antioxidant response element

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monia Lenzi
    • 2
  • Carmela Fimognari
    • 1
  • Patrizia Hrelia
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze per la Qualità della VitaUniversity of BolognaRiminiItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Farmacia e BiotecnologieUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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