Colon Cancer Proliferating Desulfosinigrin in Wasabi (Wasabia Japonica)

Nutr Cancer. 2004;48(2):207-13. doi: 10.1207/s15327914nc4802_11.


A reduced incidence of different types of cancer has been linked to consumption of Brassica vegetables, and there is evidence that glucosinolates (GSLs) and their hydrolysis products play a role in reducing cancer risk. Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) and horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), both Brassica vegetables, are widely used condiments both in Japanese cuisine and in the United States. Desulfosinigrin (DSS) (1) was isolated from a commercially available wasabi powder and from fresh wasabi roots. Sinigrin (2) was isolated from horseradish roots. DSS and sinigrin were evaluated for their inhibitory effects on cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes, on lipid peroxidation, and on the proliferation of human colon (HCT-116), breast (MCF-7), lung (NCIH460), and central nervous system (CNS, SF-268) cancer cell lines. DSS did not inhibit COX enzymes or lipid peroxidation at 250 microg/ml. Sinigrin inhibited lipid peroxidation by 71% at 250 microg/ml. However, DSS promoted the growth of HCT-116 (colon) and NCI H460 (lung) human cancer cells as determined by the MTT assay in a concentration-dependent manner. At 3.72 microg/ml, a 27% increase in the number of viable human HCT-116 colon cancer cells was observed; the corresponding increases at 7.50 and 15 microg/ml were 42 and 69%, respectively. At 60 microg/ml, DSS doubled the number of HCT-16 colon cancer cells. For NCI H460 human lung cancer cells, DSS at 60 microg/ml increased the cell number by 20%. Sinigrin showed no proliferating effect on the tumor cells tested. This is the first report of the tumor cell-proliferating activity by a desulfoglucosinolate, the biosynthetic precursor of GSLs found in Brassica spp.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Glucosinolates / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Wasabia / chemistry*


  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Glucosinolates
  • Membrane Proteins
  • sinigrin
  • Cyclooxygenase 1
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS1 protein, human
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases