Background: Sulfotransferase (SULT) 1A1 is a phase II metabolic enzyme that catalyzes sulfate conjugation
of various phenolic compounds, including endogenous substances, such as estrogens and thyroid hormones,
but also different xenobiotics. Although sulfation is classically considered as a detoxification event facilitating the
excretion of more water soluble metabolites from the body, in some cases such bioconversion may also lead to bioactivation
of promutagens, producing highly reactive intermediates which are capable of damaging DNA and promoting
carcinogenesis. The most common polymorphism in SULT1A1 (Arg213His) has an important functional
impact by affecting the capacity to sulfate diverse substrates and numerous case-control studies have shown associations
between SULT1A1 variants and susceptibility to different malignancies. Several factors may significantly
influence such relationships, including ethnicity, gender, parity, menopausal status, use of estrogen replacement
therapy, exposure to tobacco smoke or occupational chemicals.
Results and Conclusion: In this review article, we show that one more important determinant should be considered as a stratifying factor
in studies of possible associations between SULT1A1 variants and cancer risk, i.e., the dietary intake of different flavonoids. As sulfation
of bioactive plant polyphenols can change their potential anticancer activities and, on the other hand, these phytochemicals are capable to
behave also as potent SULT1A1 inhibitors, the regular dietary exposure of humans to these compounds can make a great contribution to
the impact of sulfation capacity on individual susceptibility to carcinogenesis. The effect of specific flavonoids as well as their interactions
with other factors on associations between SULT1A1 alleles and cancer risk certainly needs further thorough studies..