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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Aug 25;58(16):9273-80. doi: 10.1021/jf101580j. Epub 2010 Jul 29.

Quercetin and ferulic acid aggravate renal carcinoma in long-term diabetic victims.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Biotechnology, National Changhua University of Education, 1 Jin-De Road, Changhua, Taiwan 500.


Many phytoantioxidants have therapeutic drawbacks due to their potent prooxidant bioactivity. It is hypothesized that phytoantioxidants (PAO) are beneficial only to the early-stage diabetes mellitus (DM) and will become ineffective once renopathy occurs. Gallic acid, rutin, EGCG, ferulic acid (FA), and quercetin were tried on the streptozotocin (STZ)-induced DM rat model for a 28 week experimental period. All of these PAO were shown to be ineffective for hypoglycemic action. The incidence of cataract (50%), injured glomerules, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC) was very common, among which the most severely affected involved the quercetin- and the FA-treated groups. The tumorigenicity of ferulic acid is still unclear. However, for quercetin, this can be attributted to (i) the prooxidant effect, (ii) the insulin-secretagogue bioactivity, and (iii) the competitive and noncompetitive inhibition on the O-methyltransferase to enhance the estradiol-induced tumorigenesis. Conclusively, quercetin and FA are able to aggravate, if not induce, nephrocarcinoma. It is time to reevaluate the tumorigenic detrimental effect of PAO, especially those exhibiting prooxidant bioactivity.

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