Prostate cancer chemopreventive activity of phenethyl isothiocyanate through epigenetic regulation (Review)
Published online on: September 1, 2010
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men. The number of affected men is expected to rapidly increase as the population of males over the age of 50 grows worldwide. For patients who are not cured by local treatment and experience metastatic disease, neither androgen ablation nor chemotherapy can abrogate progression and death from androgen-independent/hormone-refractory disease. Therefore, finding strategies for the prevention of prostate cancer initiation and disease progression is a medical challenge. Consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been reported to be associated with reduced incidence of prostate cancer cases. The isothiocyanates, including phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), from cruciferous vegetables have been demonstrated as active components responsible for chemoprevention. In this review, we summarize the recent findings of PEITC on prostate cancer prevention with an emphasis on epigenetic mechanisms. Studies have indicated that PEITC mediates gene regulation, such as downregulation of androgen receptor expression and induction of endogenous cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p21 and p27. The gene for detoxifying enzyme π-class glutathione S-transferase (GSTP1), silenced in the vast majority of prostate tumor cells, could be reactivated and the enzymatic function recovered. This may be through epigenetic mechanisms as PEITC is a dual inhibitor of histone deacetylases and aberrant CpG island methylation of various genes. The epigenetic regulation may play a critical role, along with interactive mechanisms including the disruption of microtubule polymerization, in prostate cancer prevention by PEITC. These mechanisms target and correct the aberrations fundamental to the initiation and progression of carcinogenesis in cells, and restoring the cells to a more normal state. Inhibiting and eliminating cancer cells forms the basis of cancer prevention.