Allyl Isothiocyanate As a Cancer Chemopreventive Phytochemical

Allyl Isothiocyanate as a Cancer Chemopreventive Phytochemical

Molecular Nutrition & Food Research ,Volume 54, Issue 1, pages 127-135, January 2010

Yuesheng Zhang, Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Cancer Institute.



Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which occurs in many common cruciferous vegetables, is widely and often frequently consumed by humans. Besides antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of pathogens, it showed anticancer activity in both cultured cancer cells and animal models, although the underlining mechanisms remain largely undefined. Bioavailability of AITC is extremely high, as nearly 90% of orally administered AITC is absorbed. AITC absorbed in vivo is metabolized mainly through the mercapturic acid pathway and excreted in urine. Available data suggest that urinary concentrations of AITC equivalent are at least ten times higher than in the plasma, and tissue levels of AITC equivalent in the urinary bladder were 14-79 times higher than in other organs after oral AITC administration to rats. These findings suggest that AITC may be most effective in the bladder as a cancer chemopreventive compound. AITC at high-dose levels also exhibit a low degree of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in animal studies, but such adverse effects are unlikely in humans exposed to dietary levels of AITC. Overall, AITC exhibits many desirable attributes of a cancer chemopreventive agent, and further studies are warranted in order to elucidate its mechanism of action and to assess its protective activity in humans.