phytochemicals Phytochemicals

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Anti-cancer activity of pterostilbene

Previous studies already demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic properties of pterostilbene are responsible for the inhibition of chemical-induced colon carcinogenesis. Chiou and co-workers at the National Kaohsiung Marine University, Taiwan, were the first to demonstrate that pterostilbene also acts as anti-cancer phytochemical by inducing NF-E2-related factor 2 [1]. The researchers injected male mice with azoxymethane and fed them with resveratrol or pterostilbene and found that pterostilbene was more effective than resveratrol in reducing azoxymethane-induced formation of aberrant crypt foci, lymphoid nodules and tumors. Both phytochemicals also increased the formation of antioxidant enzymes such as heme oxygenase-1 and glutathione reductase.

A study conducted at the University of Vermont, studied the combined effects of tamoxifen and pterostilbene on the inhibition of breast cancer growth in vitro [2]. The researchers pre-treated two estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cell lines with pterostilbene, followed by a treatment with tamoxifen. They found that pterostilbene showed additive inhibitory effect on breast cancer cells, most likely the result from increased cancer cell apoptosis.

Chen and co-workers at National Cheng Kung University Medical College, Taiwan, explored the effects if pterostilbene on the growth of sensitive and chemoresistant human bladder cancer cells [3]. They found that the phytochemical induced autophagy and apoptosis. Their study concluded that pterostilbene could be used as a new and promising agent for the treatment of sensitive and chemoresistant bladder cancer cells.

Pterostilbene suppressed colon tumorigenesis, cell proliferation as well as key inflammatory markers. Scientists at the State University of New Jersey, USA, came to this conclusion after conducting a study on rats that were exposed to the carcinogen azoxymethane and treated with pterostilbene. The phytochemical reduced colon tumor multiplicity of non-invasive adenocarcinomas, lowered proliferating cell nuclear antigen and downregulated the expression of beta-catenin and cyclin D1. Pterostilbene may also protect against lung cancer. A study conducted at the University of Vermont, USA, investigated the effects of pterostilbene on two lung cancer cell lines [5]. They found that pterostilbene significantly decreased cell viability of both lung cancer cells lines in a dose-dependent manner. The phytochemical increased apoptosis and activity of lung cancer cell caspase-3/7.

[1] Pterostilbene Is More Potent than Resveratrol in Preventing Azoxymethane (AOM)-Induced Colon Tumorigenesis via Activation of the NF-E2-Related Factor 2 (Nrf2)-Mediated Antioxidant Signaling Pathway. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 23;59(6):2725-33.
[2] Pterostilbene and tamoxifen show an additive effect against breast cancer in vitro. Am J Surg. 2010 Nov;200(5):577-80.
[3] Pterostilbene induces autophagy and apoptosis in sensitive and chemoresistant human bladder cancer cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Dec;54(12):1819-32.
[4] Dietary intake of pterostilbene, a constituent of blueberries, inhibits the beta-catenin/p65 downstream signaling pathway and colon carcinogenesis in rats. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Jul;31(7):1272-8.
[5] Pterostilbene inhibits lung cancer through induction of apoptosis. J Surg Res. 2010 Jun 1;161(1):18-22.

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