Vitamin E succinate and cancer treatment: a vitamin E prototype for selective antitumour activity
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Great hope has been given to micronutrients as anticancer agents, since they present natural compounds with beneficial effects for normal cells and tissues. One of these is vitamin E (VE), an antioxidant and an essential component of biological membranes and circulating lipoproteins. In spite of a number of epidemiological and intervention studies, little or no correlation between VE intake and incidence of cancer has been found. Recent reports have identified a redox-silent analogue of VE, a-tocopheryl succinate (a-TOS), as a potent anticancer agent with a unique structure and pharmacokinetics in vivo. a-TOS is highly selective for malignant cells, inducing them into apoptotic death largely via the mitochondrial route. The molecule of a-TOS may be modified so that analogues with higher activity are generated. Finally, a-TOS and similar agents are metabolised to VE, thereby yielding a compound with a secondary beneficial activity. Thus, a-TOS epitomises a group of novel compounds that hold substantial promise as future anticancer drugs. The reasons for this optimistic notion are discussed in the following paragraphs.
British Journal of Cancer
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