Resveratrol, A Phytoalexin with a Multitude of Anti-Cancer Activities
Pp. 3-14 (12)
Richard M. Niles and Gary O. Rankin
Resveratrol is a polyphenol produced by certain plants in response to stress. A major dietary
source of resveratrol is red wine. This polyphenol has a multitude of effects on mammalian cells,
including inhibiting the proliferation and/or inducing apoptosis in cancer cells. This review focuses on
recent insights into the metabolism, cancer-specific activities and molecular pathways of resveratrol
action. While much work has been published on resveratrol’s effects on cancer cells in tissue culture,
fewer studies have been performed with rodent cancer models. The animal work shows that resveratrol
is effective in inhibiting the development or progression of tumors of the prostate, brain and esophagus.
An interesting finding in an animal model of pancreatic cancer is the ability of resveratrol to not only
inhibit tumor growth, but to also sensitize the tumor to gemcitabine. Analogous to other
phytochemicals, resveratrol inhibits multiple signaling pathways including PI-3K/AKT, NF-kB, TGF-β
and COX2 mediated signaling. The major metabolites of resveratrol include piceatannol, resveratrol
glucuronide and monosulfated dihydroresveratrol. It is not clear if any of these metabolites have
biological activity. There are currently three NCI-registered clinical trials with resveratrol. At present
there are no published results from these trials. Low bioavailability of resveratrol may limit its in vivo
effectiveness. Numerous questions remain to be answered regarding resveratrol’s biologic actions and
its potential role in the chemoprevention and/or treatment of cancer.
Angiogenesis, Apoptosis, Cancer, Cyclooxygenase, Diet, Food, Metastasis, NF-kB, Nutrition,
Phase II enzymes, Phytoalexin, PI-3K/AKT, Resveratrol, SIRT-1, Tumor Progression.
Nutrition and Cancer Center and Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology- BBSC 301 Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, One John Marshall Drive Huntington, WV 25755, USA