Apoptosis as a Mechanism of the Cancer Chemopreventive Activity of Glucosinolates: a Review

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Laboratory of UPM-MAKNA Cancer Research, Institute of Bioscience, University Putra Malaysia, 43400, UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

2 Laboratory of Molecular Biomedicine, Institute of Bioscience,University Putra Malaysia, 43400, UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

3 Laboratory of Food Safety and Food Integrity, Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Food Security, University Putra Malaysia, 43400, UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.


Cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of glucosinolates that have established anti-carcinogenic activity.
Naturally-occurring glucosinolates and their derivative isothiocyanates (ITCs), generated as a result of their enzymatic
degradation catalysed by myrosinase, have been linked to low cancer incidence in epidemiological studies, and in
animal models isothiocyanates suppressed chemically-induced tumorigenesis. The prospective effect of isothiocyanates
as anti-carcinogenic agent has been much explored as cytotoxic against wide array of cancer cell lines and being
explored for the development of new anticancer drugs. However, the mechanisms of isothiocyanates in inducing
apoptosis against tumor cell lines are still largely disregarded. A number of mechanisms are believed to be involved
in the glucosinolate-induced suppression of carcinogenesis, including the induction of apoptosis, biotransformation of
xenobiotic metabolism, oxidative stress, alteration of caspase activity, angiogenesis, histone deacytylation and cell cycle
arrest. The molecular mechanisms through which isothiocyanates stimulate apoptosis in cancer cell lines have not so
far been clearly defined. This review summarizes the underlying mechanisms through which isothiocyanates modify
the apoptotic pathway leading to cell death.


Main Subjects