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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2024, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 1-11.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2024.01.002

• Review •     Next Articles

Tocotrienol isoforms: The molecular mechanisms underlying their effects in cancer therapy and their implementation in clinical trials

Maria Younes, Ghady Loubnane, Christopher Sleiman, Sandra Rizk   

  1. Department of Natural Sciences, Lebanese American University, Byblos, Lebanon
  • Received:2022-09-10 Accepted:2023-07-19 Online:2024-01-31 Published:2024-03-05
  • Contact: Sandra Rizk

Tocotrienols are found in a variety of natural sources, like rice bran, annatto seeds and palm oil, and have been shown to have several health-promoting properties, particularly against chronic diseases such as cancer. The incidence of cancer is rapidly increasing around the world, not only a result of continued aging and population growth, but also due to the adoption of aspects of the Western lifestyle, such as high-fat diets and low-physical activity. The literature provides strong evidence that tocotrienols are able to inhibit the growth of various cancers, including breast, lung, ovarian, prostate, liver, brain, colon, myeloma and pancreatic cancers. These findings, along with the reported safety profile of tocotrienols in healthy human volunteers, encourage further research into these compounds’ potential use in cancer prevention and treatment. The current review provided detailed information about the molecular mechanisms of action of different tocotrienol isoforms in various cancer models and evaluated the potential therapeutic effects of different vitamin E analogues on important cancer hallmarks, such as cellular proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis and metastasis. MEDLINE/PubMed and Scopus databases were used to identify recently published articles that investigated the anticancer effects of vitamin E derivatives in various types of cancer in vitro and in vivo along with clinical evidence of adjuvant chemopreventive benefits. Following an overview of pre-clinical studies, we describe several completed and ongoing clinical trials that are paving the way for the successful implementation of tocotrienols in cancer chemotherapy.

Key words: Vitamin E, Tocotrienols, Cancer, Molecular mechanism, Clinical trials

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