Dietary aflatoxin exposure and chemoprevention of cancer: a clinical review

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(2):195-204. doi: 10.1081/clt-120019137.


Exposure to dietary aflatoxins is considered to be an important risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in certain regions of the world. Significant advances have recently been made in understanding the clinical toxicology of aflatoxins. These include the development and validation of biomarkers of exposure and genotoxic effect. These biomarkers are currently being utilized to explore the potential that pharmaceutical interventions may have in modifying the toxicokinetics of dietary aflatoxin exposure. Preliminary results of clinical trials with the drug oltipraz suggest that it may modify the genotoxic effects of aflatoxin B1 by inhibiting bioactivation pathways and stimulating detoxification pathways. More recent results of a clinical trial with chlorophyllin suggest that this drug may have a role in preventing dietary exposure to aflatoxin B1 by reducing its oral bioavailability. The preliminary results of these chemoprevention studies may ultimately have implications for cancer prevention in high-risk populations in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxins / pharmacokinetics
  • Aflatoxins / poisoning*
  • Aflatoxins / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers
  • Chlorophyllides / therapeutic use
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Pyrazines / therapeutic use
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Thiones
  • Thiophenes


  • Aflatoxins
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Chlorophyllides
  • Pyrazines
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Thiones
  • Thiophenes
  • oltipraz
  • chlorophyllin