Bioactives backed for cancer risk reduction

Food bioactives, found in many suppleements, could aid in cancer risk reduction, say the researchers.

Bioactive compounds found in certain foods and nutritional supplements could help to prevent cancer by blocking the ability of cancer stem cells to grow.

The study – published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry – examines the mechanisms by which bioactive food components may affect the risk of cancer development or recurrence by targeting cancer stem cells.

Led by Professor Young Kim of the National Cancer Institute, USA, the researchers suggest that bioactive components of foods – including certain vitamins and phytochemicals – could have the capacity to suppress cancer stem cells or prevent them from self-renewal. The authors add that the overall response to bioactive food components does not appear to be tissue or organ specific, “suggesting there may be common cellular mechanisms.”

Kim and his colleagues noted that such mechanisms may explain why certain functional foods have been found to help reduce the risk of cancer in epidemiologic studies.

“Diverse dietary constituents such as vitamins A and D, genistein, (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), sulforaphane, curcumin, piperine, theanine and choline have been shown to modify self-renewal properties of cancer stem cells,” say the researchers.

“The ability of these bioactive food components to influence the balance between proliferative and quiescent cells by regulating critical feedback molecules in the network … may account for their biological response,” they explain.

Cancer regulation

The researchers suggest that eating ‘inappropriate foods’ and their ingredients may result in the loss of regulatory molecules and promote the abnormal or uncontrolled self-renewal of cancer stem cells.

“Unquestionably, a diet-induced shift from deregulation to regulation in cancer stem cells could have profound influence on cancer relapses and therefore is of immense societal importance,” they conclude.

Study details 

Kim and his team note that while the origin of the cancer self-renewal process remains unclear, “evidence continues to surface that some bioactive food components can modulate various steps in the process and help prevent cancer regeneration/recurrence.”

They suggested that ‘adequate’ consumption of specific food items including vitamins A and D, genistein, EGCG, sulforaphane, theanine, curcumin, choline “and possibly many others may suppress the chaotic property of cancer stem cells to self-renew.”

“However, greater attention is needed to determine the minimum amounts required and specific circumstances that would derive the benefits from these agents,” they say.

Kim and his team argue that further studies are needed to clarify the physiological role of these dietary components in preventing the resistance of tumor cells to traditional drugs and cancer recurrence.

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Volume 23, Issue 7, Pages 691–698, doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.03.002
“Cancer stem cells: potential target for bioactive food components”
Authors: Young S. Kim, William Farrar, Nancy H. Colburn, John A. Milner

Related News

Grapefruit juice may help anti-cancer drugs to be more effective, say researchers

US choline-containing food supplements

Cross-Atlantic choline team banks on EU health claim conversion

Frozen broccoli lacks ability to form healthy compound: Study

Frozen broccoli lacks ability to form healthy compound: Study

Ingredia acquires bioactive peptides startup

Ingredia acquires bioactive peptides startup

There are real research benefits to be realised from bioactive nutrients and researchers need clarity when it comes to targeting goals for bioactive inclusion in food and dietary supplements.(©

Clearer bioactive standards will benefit innovation, report states

Sulforaphane is found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts. ©iStock

Broccoli extract shows weight management abilities: Mouse study

Eating cruciferous vegetables may boost breast cancer survival rate

Eating cruciferous vegetables may boost breast cancer survival rate

Nano-pomegranate shows anti-cancer potential

Nano-pomegranate shows anti-cancer potential

“If you believe the current RDA, you will be vitamin D insufficient.” - Dr Michael Holick

Vitamin D-cancer evidence ‘insufficient’, says IOM committee members

Cancer group calls for information on genotype and diet-related disease

Selenium may reduce prostate cancer markers: Study

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.