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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 May;957:210-29.

Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol.

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Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, and University of Illinois Cancer Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Cancer chemopreventive agents are designed to reduce the incidence of tumorigenesis by intervening at one or more stages of carcinogenesis. Recently, resveratrol, a natural product found in the diet of humans, has been shown to function as a cancer chemopreventive agent. Resveratrol was first shown to act as an antioxidant and antimutagenic agent, thus acting as an anti-initiation agent. Further evidence indicated that resveratrol selectively suppresses the transcriptional activation of cytochrome P-450 1A1 and inhibits the formation of carcinogen-induced preneoplastic lesions in a mouse mammary organ culture model. Resveratrol also inhibits the formation of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promoted mouse skin tumors in the two-stage model. The enzymatic activities of COX-1 and -2 are inhibited by resveratrol in cell-free models, and COX-2 mRNA and TPA-induced activation of protein kinase C and AP-1-mediated gene expression are suppressed by resveratrol in mammary epithelial cells. In addition, resveratrol strongly inhibits nitric oxide generation and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression. NF kappa B is strongly linked to inflammatory and immune responses and is associated with oncogenesis in certain models of cancer, and resveratrol suppresses the induction of this transcription factor by a number of agents. The mechanism may involve decreasing the phosphorylation and degradation of I kappa B alpha. At the cellular level, resveratrol also induces apoptosis, cell cycle delay or a block in the G(1) --> S transition phase in a number of cell lines. Thus, resveratrol holds great promise for future development as a chemopreventive agent that may be useful for several disorders. Preclinical toxicity studies are underway that should be followed by human clinical trials.

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