Tocotrienols fight cancer by targeting multiple cell signaling pathways.

Monday, 20/02/2012  |   Breast Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer  |  no comments

Tocotrienols fight cancer by targeting multiple cell signaling pathways.

Abstract: Cancer cells are distinguished by several distinct characteristics, such as self-sufficiency in growth signal, resistance to growth inhibition, limitless replicative potential, evasion of apoptosis, sustained angiogenesis, and tissue invasion and metastasis. Tumor cells acquire these properties due to the dysregulation of multiple genes and associated cell signaling pathways, most of which are linked to inflammation. For that reason, rationally designed drugs that target a single gene product are unlikely to be of use in preventing or treating cancer. Moreover, targeted drugs can cause serious and even life-threatening side effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need for safe and effective promiscuous (multitargeted) drugs. “Mother Nature” produces numerous such compounds that regulate multiple cell signaling pathways, are cost effective, exhibit low toxicity, and are readily available. One among these is tocotrienol, a member of the vitamin E family, which has exhibited anticancer properties. This review summarizes data from in vitro and in vivo studies of the effects of tocotrienol on nuclear factor-?B, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3, death receptors, apoptosis, nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1, growth factor receptor kinases, and angiogenic pathways.
Kannappan R, et al. Tocotrienols fight cancer by targeting multiple cell signaling pathways. Genes & nutrition. 2012 Vol 7, Issue 1. Pp 43-52

Why tocotrienols work better: insights into the in vitro anti-cancer mechanism of vitamin E.

Abstract: The selective constraint of liver uptake and the sustained metabolism of tocotrienols (T3) demonstrate the need for a prompt detoxification of this class of lipophilic vitamers, and thus the potential for cytotoxic effects in hepatic and extra-hepatic tissues. Hypomethylated (? and ?) forms of T3 show the highest in vitro and in vivo metabolism and are also the most potent natural xenobiotics of the entire vitamin E family of compounds. These stimulate a stress response with the induction of detoxification and antioxidant genes. Depending on the intensity of this response, these genes may confer cell protection or alternatively they stimulate a senescence-like phenotype with cell cycle inhibition or even mitochondrial toxicity and apoptosis. In cancer cells, the uptake rate and thus the cell content of these vitamers is again higher for the hypomethylated forms, and it is the critical factor that drives the dichotomy between protection and toxicity responses to different T3 forms and doses. These aspects suggest the potential for marked biological activity of hypomethylated “highly metabolized” T3 that may result in cytoprotection and cancer prevention or even chemotherapeutic effects. Cytotoxicity and metabolism of hypomethylated T3 have been extensively investigated in vitro using different cell model systems that will be discussed in this review paper as regard molecular mechanisms and possible relevance in cancer therapy.
Viola V et al. Why tocotrienols work better: insights into the in vitro anti-cancer mechanism of vitamin E. Genes & nutrition. 2012 Vol 7, Issue 1. Pp 29-41

Tocotrienols and breast cancer: the evidence to date.

Abstract: Breast cancer is the second most frequent cancer affecting women worldwide after lung cancer. The toxicity factor associated with synthetic drugs has turned the attention toward natural compounds as the primary focus of interest as anticancer agents. Vitamin E derivatives consisting of the well-established tocopherols and their analogs namely tocotrienols have been extensively studied due to their remarkable biological properties. While tocopherols have failed to offer protection, tocotrienols, in particular, ?-, ?-, and ?-tocotrienols alone and in combination have demonstrated anticancer properties. The discovery of the antiangiogenic, antiproliferative, and apoptotic effects of tocotrienols, as well as their role as an inducer of immunological functions, not only reveals a new horizon as a potent antitumor agent but also reinforces the notion that tocotrienols are indeed more than antioxidants. On the basis of a transcriptomic platform, we have recently demonstrated a novel mechanism for tocotrienol activity that involves estrogen receptor (ER) signaling. In silico simulations and in vitro binding analyses indicate a high affinity of specific forms of tocotrienols for ER?, but not for ER?. Moreover, we have demonstrated that specific tocotrienols increase ER? translocation into the nucleus which, in turn, activates the expression of estrogen-responsive genes (MIC-1, EGR-1 and Cathepsin D) in breast cancer cells only expressing ER? cells (MDA-MB-231) and in cells expressing both ER isoforms (MCF-7). The binding of specific tocotrienol forms to ER? is associated with the alteration of cell morphology, caspase-3 activation, DNA fragmentation, and apoptosis. Furthermore, a recently concluded clinical trial seems to suggest that tocotrienols in combination with tamoxifen may have the potential to extend breast cancer-specific survival.
Nesaretnam K, et al. Tocotrienols and breast cancer: the evidence to date. Genes & nutrition. 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 1 Pp 3-9

Vitamin E succinate inhibits survivin and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells.

Abstract: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Identifying novel chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive approaches is critical in the prevention and treatment of cancers such as pancreatic cancer. Vitamin E succinate (VES) is a redox-silent analog of the fat-soluble vitamin alpha-tocopherol. In the present study, we explored the antiproliferative action of VES and its effects on inhibitor of apoptosis proteins in pancreatic cancer cells. We show that VES inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Further, we demonstrate that VES downregulates the expression of survivin and X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis proteins. The apoptosis induced by VES was augmented by siRNA-mediated inhibition of survivin in PANC-1 cells. In summary, our results suggest that VES targets survivin signaling and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells.
Patacsil D et al. Vitamin E succinate inhibits survivin and induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Genes & nutrition. 2012 Vol. 7 Issue 1 Pp 83-9

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