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J Cell Biochem Suppl. 1997;27:100-5.

Cancer prevention by organosulfur compounds from garlic and onion.

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Department of Pathology, Osaka City University Medical School, Japan.


Environmental compounds are known to be involved in both the generation and prevention of many human cancers. It is important to discover naturally occurring or synthetic compounds which can block the process of carcinogenesis. We have focused attention on several organosulfur compounds (OSCs) in garlic and onion, and analyzed their potential for chemoprevention in the post-initiation stage in a liver medium-term bioassay (Ito test) and a multi-organ carcinogenesis bioassay. In the ITO test, rats were given diethylnitrosamine (DEN), 200 mg/kg b.w., i.p.; starting 2 weeks later they were treated with test chemicals for 6 weeks and then killed. All rats were subjected to 2/3 hepatectomy 1 week after the start of test chemical treatment. Inhibitory effects of a number of compounds could be identified in terms of reduced numbers and areas of liver glutathione S-transferase placental (GST-P) positive foci. In the multi-organ carcinogenesis bioassay, rats were given DEN, N-methyl-N-nitrosourea, N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)nitrosamine, N,N'-dimethylhydrazine, and dihydroxy-dipropylnitrosamine during the first 4 weeks, followed by test chemicals for 24 weeks. Various organs were examined. As a result, oil-soluble OSCs such as methyl propyl disulfide and propylene sulfide demonstrated inhibitory effects on the development of GST-P positive foci. Moreover, water-soluble OSCs such as S-methylcysteine and cysteine similarly decreased GST-P focus formation. In contrast, OSCs such as diallyl sulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and allyl methyl trisulfide enhanced formation of such altered hepatocellular foci. Inhibitory potential for colon and renal carcinogenesis was observed in rats treated with diallyl disulfide. Thus, the results indicate that some OSCs exert chemopreventive effects on chemical carcinogenesis. It must, however, be borne in mind that they may also demonstrate promotion potential, depending on the organ examined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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