Indole-3-Carbinol and Its Role in Chronic Diseases

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;928:131-154. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-41334-1_6.


Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a common phytochemical in cruciferous vegetables, and its condensation product, 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM) exert several biological activities on cellular and molecular levels, which contribute to their well-recognized chemoprevention potential. Initially, these compounds were classified as blocking agents that increase drug-metabolizing enzyme activity. Now it is widely accepted that I3C and DIM affect multiple signaling pathways and target molecules controlling cell division, apoptosis, or angiogenesis deregulated in cancer cells. Although most of the current data support the role of I3C and DIM in prevention of hormone-dependent cancers, it seems that their application in prevention of the other cancer as well as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes reduction is also possible. This chapter summarizes the current experimental data on the I3C and DIM activity and the results of clinical studies indicating their role in prevention of chronic diseases.

Keywords: Animal models; Chronic diseases; DIM; Dietary intervention trials; Indole-3-carbinol; Signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Indoles
  • indole-3-carbinol
  • 3,3'-diindolylmethane