Chemopreventive Effects of Alpha Lipoic Acid on Obesity-Related Cancers

Ann Nutr Metab. 2016;68(2):137-44. doi: 10.1159/000443994. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


Background: It has been generally accepted that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for several types of cancers, including breast, thyroid, colon, pancreatic and liver. In fact, people who are obese have more fat tissues that can produce hormones, such as insulin or estrogen, which may cause cancer cells to grow. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is anorganosulfur compound derived from octanoic acid, which is produced in animals normally, and is essential for aerobic metabolism.

Summary: Studies in both in vitro cells and in vivo animal models have shown that ALA inhibits the initiation and promotion stages of carcinogenesis, suggesting that ALA has considerable attention as a chemopreventive agent. This brief review collects the scattered data available in the literature concerning ALA and highlights its anti-cancer properties, intermediary metabolism and exploratory implications.

Key messages: Based on scientific evidences so far, ALA might be useful agents in the management or chemoprevention of obesity-related cancers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Thioctic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Thioctic Acid