trans-Resveratrol (trans-3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene) is a natural phytoalexin present in grapes, red wine, berries and peanuts with health protecting properties. The low oral bioavailability indicated for this polyphenol, with the intestine as a bottleneck to its absorption, has promoted the large intestine as a potential target site for its chemopreventive activity. This review recapitulates the current evidence of the effects of trans-resveratrol on colon cancer. First, we describe the studies conducted in vitro which show that the protective activity takes place by inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Secondly, the chemopreventive activity in animal models of colon carcinogenesis is revised. trans-Resveratrol not only reduces the number of preneoplastic lesions but also the incidence and multiplicity of tumors. Lastly, the article also reviews the available data on clinical trials. Altogether, the present findings support the hypothesis that the oral administration of trans-resveratrol might contribute to the prevention of colon carcinogenesis.
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