Anticancer effects of garlic and garlic-derived compounds for breast cancer control

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2011 Mar;11(3):249-53. doi: 10.2174/187152011795347441.


Garlic and garlic-derived compounds reduce the development of mammary cancer in animals and suppress the growth of human breast cancer cells in culture. Oil-soluble compounds derived from garlic, such as diallyl disulfide (DADS), are more effective than water-soluble compounds in suppressing breast cancer. Mechanisms of action include the activation of metabolizing enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, the suppression of DNA adduct formation, the inhibition of the production of reactive oxygen species, the regulation of cell-cycle arrest and the induction of apoptosis. Selenium-enriched garlic or organoselenium compounds provide more potent protection against mammary carcinogenesis in rats and greater inhibition of breast cancer cells in culture than natural garlic or the respective organosulfur analogues. DADS synergizes the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, a breast cancer suppressor, and antagonizes the effect of linoleic acid, a breast cancer enhancer. Moreover, garlic extract reduces the side effects caused by anti-cancer agents. Thus, garlic and garlic-derived compounds are promising candidates for breast cancer control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allyl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / chemistry*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Adducts / drug effects
  • Disulfides / pharmacology*
  • Drug Antagonism
  • Drug Synergism
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Garlic / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid / adverse effects
  • Organoselenium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Selenium / pharmacology
  • Solubility
  • Sulfinic Acids / pharmacology*


  • Allyl Compounds
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA Adducts
  • Disulfides
  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sulfinic Acids
  • allicin
  • diallyl disulfide
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Selenium