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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1993 May 28;686:186-201; discussion 201-2.

Inhibition of tobacco-specific nitrosamine-induced lung tumorigenesis by compounds derived from cruciferous vegetables and green tea.

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Division of Chemical Carcinogenesis American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595.


We have shown that PEITC and I3C, both of cruciferous origin, inhibited lung tumor formation induced by the tobacco-specific nitrosamine NNK. The inhibition by PEITC is due largely to its inhibitory effect on the enzymes of NNK metabolism, whereas; the inhibition by I3C may be attributed to its ability to induce hepatic enzyme activity of NNK metabolism, which resulted in decreased availability of NNK to the lung. On a molar basis, PEITC is considerably more effective than I3C. PEITC was released upon consumption of watercress. The N-acetylcysteine conjugate of PEITC is a promising urinary marker for quantitating uptake of this dietary anticarcinogen in humans. These studies also showed that green tea polyphenol EGCG inhibited the NNK-induced lung tumorigenesis, probably due to its antioxidant property. These studies provide for the first time evidence for the involvement of free radicals in nitrosamine tumorigenesis. The mechanism by which free radicals are generated by NNK treatment is not yet known. The reduced levels of oxidative lesions in lung as a result of EGCG treatment may be related to its ability to reduce reactive oxygen species and/or to chelate iron ion resulting in a decreased production of hydroxyl radicals. Overall, these studies have identified ingredients in cruciferous vegetables and green tea that are inhibitory against lung tumorigenesis induced by NNK in rodents.

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