Vitamin E transporters in cancer therapy

AAPS J. 2015 Mar;17(2):313-22. doi: 10.1208/s12248-014-9705-5. Epub 2014 Dec 3.


Besides their potent antioxidant activity, vitamin E isoforms demonstrated multiple therapeutic activities among which is their activity against different cancer types, including breast, prostate, and colon cancers. However, the activity of vitamin E isoforms is limited by their low bioavailability following oral administration. In addition to the low solubility, vitamin E isoforms have been established as substrates for several intestinal and hepatic transport proteins. In this review, we present reported anticancer activity of vitamin E family members and the possible utilization of vitamin E and derivatives as chemosensitizers to reverse multidrug resistance when given as part of a delivery system and/or in combination with anticancer therapeutic drugs. Then, the review discusses disposition of vitamin E members and transport proteins that play a role in determining their systemic bioavailability followed by recent advances in vitamin E formulations and delivery strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Availability
  • Biological Transport
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Solubility
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin E / chemistry
  • Vitamin E / pharmacokinetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Vitamin E