Biological/Chemopreventive Activity of Stilbenes and their Effect on Colon Cancer
Author Agnes M. Rimando1, Nanjoo Suh2, 3
1 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, University, MS, USA 2 Department of Chemical Biology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, USA 3 The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Abstract Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men and women in Western countries. Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of fruits and vegetables to a reduced risk of colon cancer, and small fruits are particularly rich sources of many active phytochemical stilbenes, such as resveratrol and pterostilbene. Recent advances in the prevention of colon cancer have stimulated an interest in diet and lifestyle as an effective means of intervention. As constituents of small fruits such as grapes,berries and their products, stilbenes are under intense investigation as cancer chemopreventive agents. One of the best-characterized stilbenes, resveratrol, has been known as an antioxidant and an anti-aging compound as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. Stilbenes have diverse pharmacological activities, which include cancer prevention, a cholesterol-lowering effect, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and increased lifespan. This review summarizes results related to the potential use of various stilbenes as cancer chemopreventive agents, their mechanisms of action, as well as their pharmacokinetics and efficacy for the prevention of colon cancer in animals and humans.
Conclusion As constituents of grapes, red wine and small fruits, resveratrol and related stilbenes are under intense investigation as cancer chemopreventive agents. After the landmark studies on prevention of cancer and protection against the detrimental health effects associated with a high-calorie diet in experimental animals, including resveratrol's ability to mimic caloric restriction, the potential impact of stilbenes on human health have elicited considerable public attention. In vitro cell culture experiments as well as preclinical animal studies with resveratrol and related stilbenes suggest a multitude of mechanisms for the pharmacological activity of this group of compounds. Elucidation of mechanisms of action and in vivo efficacy of stilbenes may lead to new approaches for the treatment and prevention of various neoplasias, including colon cancer.
Pterostilbene belongs to a class of compounds called phytoalexins, which are naturally produced by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Pterostilbene is a derivative of resveratrol and is present in grape skins, blueberries and red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus). Resveratrol (trans-3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene), a compound found largely in the skins of red grapes