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Basic Life Sci. 1990;52:361-5.

Tumor dose-response studies with aflatoxin B1 and the ambivalent modulator indole-3-carbinol: inhibitory versus promotional potency.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331.


Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a natural compound from cruciferous vegetables, inhibits aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) carcinogenesis in trout when administered prior to and during carcinogen exposure, but also promotes it in the same species when given after AFB1 initiation. To provide quantitative potency information for these opposing activities, detailed tumor dose-response studies were performed with AFB1 (10-400 ppb) and I3C (0-4,000 ppm). In a plot of (logit) percent tumor response vs log AFB1 exposure, the results generated a series of parallel AFB1 dose-response curves. Increasing I3C doses displaced these curves, respectively, toward higher and lower AFB1 doses in the inhibition and promotion studies. Similar potencies were observed over the dose range 0-1,500 ppm I3C; the 50% promotion and inhibition (P50 and I50) values were 1,000 vs 1,400 ppm I3C, respectively. Differences in the protocols used in the two studies suggest that the inhibitory activity of I3C is more likely to supersede promotion under human exposure conditions.

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