Cruciferous vegetables and colorectal cancer prevention through microRNA regulation: A review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018;58(12):2026-2038. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1300134. Epub 2017 Jun 12.


Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may lower colorectal cancer risk. In particular, a number of in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that cruciferous vegetables and their active compounds elicit chemopreventive potency through multiple mechanisms. However, it is relatively unexplored whether these vegetables modulate the risk of cancer development through epigenetic mechanisms including noncoding RNAs. Therefore, the objective of the present review is to report and discuss existing evidence with regards to modulation of microRNAs (miRNAs), one variety of noncoding RNAs, by cruciferous vegetables and their chemo-preventive effects against colorectal cancers. As results, it seems clear, considering accumulating evidence regarding their interactions with cancer related genes and relevant signaling pathways, that miRNA modulation via cruciferous vegetables is an attractive target for the prevention of colorectal cancer. In addition, miRNAs have been characterized as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and utilized in cancer therapeutics. Thus, it is very possible that natural agents (not limited to those in cruciferous vegetables) enhance cancer therapeutic efficacy and elicit chemopreventive effects through modulating key miRNAs.

Keywords: Glucosinolates; colorectal cancer; cruciferous vegetables; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / chemistry
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brassicaceae*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • MicroRNAs