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Cancer Res. 2003 Nov 1;63(21):7005-31.

Enzyme induction and dietary chemicals as approaches to cancer chemoprevention: the Seventh DeWitt S. Goodman Lecture.

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Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Biology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 164 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8020, USA.


Research on cancer chemoprevention is an important approach for decreasing both the incidence and number of deaths from cancer. The use of tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, finasteride to prevent prostate cancer, and aspirin to prevent colon cancer are recent examples of cancer chemoprevention. This article describes research from my laboratory and related research from other laboratories on the effects of enzyme induction on chemical carcinogenesis as an approach to cancer chemoprevention, as well as studies on the inhibitory effects of curcumin, caffeine, (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and tea in animal models of carcinogenesis. The later substances appear to work, at least in part, by enhancing apoptosis in DNA-damaged cells or in tumors. The results of our studies and those of others provide a rationale for clinical trials on the potential chemopreventive effects of curcumin, caffeine, EGCG, and tea on the formation of cancer of the skin, mouth, esophagus, stomach, and colon in people with precancerous lesions and a high risk of developing these cancers. It was pointed out that several compounds that are effective cancer chemopreventive agents in one experimental setting can enhance carcinogenesis in another experimental setting. These results suggest that it may be necessary to tailor the cancer chemopreventive regimen to individual subjects with known carcinogen exposures or to high cancer risk individuals with mechanistically understood pathways of carcinogenesis so that chemopreventive agents with known mechanisms of action can be better customized to the individual and selected on a more rational basis.

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