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Carcinogenesis. 2003 May;24(5):891-7.

Allyl isothiocyanate, a constituent of cruciferous vegetables, inhibits proliferation of human prostate cancer cells by causing G2/M arrest and inducing apoptosis.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


Dietary isothiocyanates (ITCs) are highly effective in affording protection against chemically induced cancers in laboratory animals. In the present study, we demonstrate that allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), a constituent of cruciferous vegetables, significantly inhibits proliferation of cultured PC-3 (androgen-independent) and LNCaP (androgen-dependent) human prostate cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner with an IC(50) of approximately 15-17 micro M. On the other hand, survival of a normal prostate epithelial cell line (PrEC) was minimally affected by AITC even at concentrations that were highly cytotoxic to the prostate cancer cells. Reduced proliferation of PC-3 as well as LNCaP cells in the presence of AITC correlated with accumulation of cells in G(2)/M phase and induction of apoptosis. In contrast, AITC treatment failed to induce apoptosis or cause G(2)/M phase arrest in PrEC cells. A 24 h treatment of PC-3 and LNCaP cells with 20 micro M AITC caused a significant decrease in the levels of proteins that regulate G(2)/M progression, including Cdk1 (32-50% reduction), Cdc25B (44-48% reduction) and Cdc25C (>90% reduction). A significant reduction in the expression of cyclin B1 protein (approximately 45%) was observed only in LNCaP cells. A 24 h exposure of PC-3 and LNCaP cells to an apoptosis-inducing concentration of AITC (20 micro M) resulted in a significant decrease (31-68%) in the levels of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 in both cell lines, and approximately 58% reduction in Bcl-X(L) protein expression in LNCaP cells. In conclusion, it seems reasonable to hypothesize that AITC, and possibly other ITCs, may find use in the treatment of human prostate cancers.

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