Chemoprevention with isothiocyanates - From bench to bedside

Cancer Lett. 2018 Feb 1:414:26-33. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.10.033. Epub 2017 Oct 27.


Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are naturally occurring hydrolization products from glucosinolates (GLSs) in brassicaceae and in epidemiological studies their intake has been weakly to moderately inversely correlated with the risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Numerous preclinical studies demonstrate chemopreventive mode of actions of ITCs, mainly related to a.) detoxification (induction of phase II enzymes), b.) anti-inflammatory properties by down-regulation of NFkappaB activity, c.) cyclin-mediated cell cycle arrest and d.) epigenetic modulation by inhibition of histone deacetylase activity. First prospective clinical trials were promising in patients with risk of prostate cancer recurrence. The glutathione-S-transferase gene expression seems to play a major role in the individual susceptibility towards ITCs. Safety issues are widely unclear and should be more addressed in future studies because ITCs can, in low concentrations, compromise the function of human immune cells and might impair genome stability.

Keywords: Brassicaceae; Cancer; Cruciferous vegetable; Glucosinolates; Mustard oil; Safety.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Chemoprevention / methods*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods


  • Isothiocyanates