Vitamin E analogues as anti-cancer agents: Lessons from studies with α-tocopheryl succinate
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The new millennium has witnessed considerable decrease in a number of previously fatal pathologies, largely due to the advancement in molecular medicine and modern approaches to treatment. In spite of this success, neoplastic disease remains a serious problem due to several reasons. These include an exceedingly high variability of cancer cells even within the same type of tumour. Cancer cells, albeit of clonal origin, mutate so that they escape established treatments, resulting in the fatal outcome of current therapies. Moreover, there are types of cancer, such as mesotheliomas, that cannot be treated at present. A novel group of clinically interesting anticancer drugs has been a recent focus in the literature that hold substantial promise as selective anticancer drugs. These compounds, epitomised by -tocopheryl succinate, comprise redox-silent analogues of vitamin E that have been shown to suppress several types of cancer in animal models, including breast, colon and lung cancer as well as mesotheliomas and melanomas, while being nontoxic to normal cells and tissues. It is now proven that the strong anticancer effect of vitamin E analogues stems from their propensity to induce selective apoptosis in malignant cells. The results point to the novel group of vitamin E analogues as promising agents applicable to different types of tumours.
Molecular nutrition & food research
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