The use of non-conventional medicines, especially herbal medicine, is common in patients with cancers including haematologic malignancies. Diet components may also modify the risk of cancer through the influence on multiple processes, including DNA repair, cell proliferation and apoptosis. Garlic (Allium sativum), considered either food or herbal medicine, possesses antimutagenic and antiproliferative properties that can be used in anticancer interventions. We analyzed literature data on effects of garlic and garlic compounds which can serve as basic information to design clinical approach in oncohematology. Garlic contains water soluble and oil-soluble sulfur compounds. The latter are responsible for anticancer effects exerted through multiple mechanisms such as: inhibition of metabolic carcinogenic activation, arrest of cell cycle, antioxidant and pro-apoptotic action. Evidence about the effects of main sulfur compounds diallyl sulfide (DAS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), diallyl trisulfide (DATS), ajoene and S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC) in oncohematology was described. Our research highlights that data on garlic in oncohematology are essentially represented by pre-clinical studies. Although these studies must be considered as preliminary, they provided insight into biological activities of garlic compounds and support a rationale for the use of substances such as DAS, DADS, DATS and ajoene as promising anticancer agents in oncohematology.
Keywords: Garlic, allium sativum, cancer, oncohematology, leukaemia, lymphoma, non-conventional, herbal medicine, antimutagenic, antiproliferative, sulfur, antioxidant, pro-apoptotic, diallyl sulfide
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