Semin Cancer Biol. 2021 Jan 9. Epub 2021 Jan 9. PMID: 33434642
Dietary isothiocyanates inhibit cancer progression by modulation of epigenome.
Cell cycle, growth, survival and metabolism are tightly regulated together and failure in cellular regulation leads to carcinogenesis. Several signaling pathways like the PI3K, WNT, MAPK and NFKb pathway exhibit aberrations in cancer and help achieve hallmark capabilities. Clinical research and in vitro studies have highlighted the role of epigenetic alterations in cancer onset and development. Altered gene expression patterns enabled by changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications and RNA processing have proven roles in cancer hallmark acquisition. The reversible nature of epigenetic processes offers robust therapeutic targets. Dietary bioactive compounds offer a vast compendium of effective therapeutic moieties. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) sourced from cruciferous vegetables demonstrate anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-migratory and anti-angiogenic effect against several cancers. ITCs also modulate the redox environment, modulate signaling pathways including PI3K, MAPK, WNT, and NFkB. They also modulate the epigenetic machinery by regulating the expression and activity of DNA methyltransferases, histone modifiers and miRNA. This further enhances their transcriptional modulation of key cellular regulators. In this review, we comprehensively assess the impact of ITCs such as sulforaphane, phenethyl isothiocyanate, benzyl isothiocyanate and allyl isothiocyanate on cancer and document their effect on various molecular targets. Overall, this will facilitate consolidation of the current understanding of the anti-cancer and epigenetic modulatory potential of these compounds and recognize the gaps in literature. Further, we discuss avenues of future research to develop these compounds as potential therapeutic entities.