Cancer chemoprevention with garlic and its constituents

Cancer Lett. 2007 Mar 18;247(2):167-81. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2006.05.009. Epub 2006 Jun 21.


Advance metastasized cancers are generally incurable; hence an effort to prolong the process of carcinogenesis through chemoprevention has emerged consistent with this notion. In recent years, a considerable attention has been placed to identify naturally occurring chemopreventive substances capable of inhibiting, retarding or reversing the process of carcinogenesis. A number of phenolic substances, particularly those present in dietary and medicinal plants, have been shown to possess substantial anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic activities. Epidemiological observations and laboratory studies, both in cell culture and animal models have indicated anticarcinogenic potential of garlic and its constituents, which has been traditionally used for varied human ailments around the world. Chemical analysis has indicated that protective effects of garlic appear to be related to the presence of organosulfur compounds mainly allyl derivatives. Several mechanisms have been presented to explain cancer chemopreventive effects of garlic-derived products. These include modulation in activity of several metabolizing enzymes that activate and detoxify carcinogens and inhibit DNA adduct formation, antioxidative and free radicals scavenging properties and regulation of cell proliferation, apoptosis and immune responses. Recent data show that garlic-derived products modulate cell-signaling pathways in a fashion that controls the unwanted proliferation of cells thereby imparting strong cancer chemopreventive as well as cancer therapeutic effects. This review discusses mechanistic basis of cancer chemopreventive effects of garlic-derived products, their implication in cancer management and ways and means to take these agents from bench to real life situations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Garlic* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*