A significant advancement in anti-cancer research has been the identification of specific foods and food elements that can offer protection against many types of cancer and diseases of aging. These foods are essential for both the prevention of cancer and also for increasing the odds of survival after diagnosis.

We present here some of the "healthy molecules" that are currently being investigated in their role against cancer and other diseases.

Chemical Name
Molecular Structure
Mechanism of Action
References and Clinical Trials

Vitamin D3

Read More


requires supplement or natural sun



Inhibition of the prostaglandin pathway for Prostate Cancer


Higher vitamin D intake needed to reduce cancer risk

Study links vitamin D to lung cancer survival

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Vitamin D and Soy Supplements in Treating Patients With Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Ongoing Clinical Trial -- Vitamin D in Treating Patients With Prostate Cancer -- completion date 2011

Nicotinamide Riboside-- RG/ Niagen Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a pyridine-nucleoside form of vitamin B3 that functions as a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD+ niagen image

Increases the NAD+ coenzyme for enhanced mitochondrial function

Possible Anti-Aging Effect of Mitochondria

Publicly traded company Chromadex acquired intellectual property on uses and synthesis of NR Chloride from Dartmouth College, Cornell University and Washington University and began distributing NR as NIAGEN™ in 2013

Reference: Beyond Resveratrol --The Anti-Aging NAD Fad-- Scientific American


Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG),

ester of epigallocatechin and gallic acid, and is a type of catechin.


Bind and inhibit the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xl

found to be a strong topoisomerase inhibitor,


Epigallocatechin Gallate Suppresses Lung Cancer Cell Growth through Ras–GTPase-Activating Protein SH3 Domain-Binding Protein 1

Synergistic Cell Death by EGCG and Ibuprofen in DU-145 Prostate Cancer Cell Line

In-vitro effects of polyphenols from cocoa and beta-sitosterol on the growth of human prostate cancer and normal cells

Cancer Prevention by Tea Polyphenols Is Linked to Their Direct Inhibition of Antiapoptotic Bcl-2-Family Proteins

Complementary Oncology-- Pancreatic Cancer Studies

Ongoing Clinical Trial

Green Tea Extract and Prostate Cancer Trial PII

Defined Green Tea Catechins in Treating Patients With Prostate Cancer Undergoing Surgery to Remove the Prostate

Oral Green Tea Extract and Milk Thistle Extract to Colorectal Cancer Patients Undergoing Resection

Green Tea and Reduction of Breast Cancer Risk

Herbal Therapy for Treatment of Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Green Tea and Reduction of Breast Cancer Risk

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Effects of Pomegranate Juice or Extract on Rising PSA Levels in Men Following Primary Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Small daily doses of flavonoid- rich chocolate improve blood vessel function, study suggests

epicatechin gallate (ECG),

a flavan-3-ol

--green tea

growth suppression and anti-inflammatory activities See: Complementary Oncology
Epigallocatechin (EGC),

a flavan-3-ol

green tea, bananas, pomegranate


growth suppression and anti-inflammatory activities

See: Complementary Oncology

Epicatechin (EC


EC--cacao beans

IP-6 (inositol hexaphosphate) Rice bran, beans, peanuts, corn, barley, sesame inhibits PI 3-kinases or PI3Ks; iron-chelating molecule; inhibition of platelet aggregation; antioxidant,

Chemopreventive efficacy of inositol hexaphosphate against prostate tumor growth and progression in TRAMP mice.

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Value of Oral Phytate (InsP6) in the Prevention of Progression of the Cardiovascular Calcifications (CALCIFICA)


flavonol --

capers, green tea, red wine, red onions

Quercetin is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties. The proposed mechanism of action is via inhibition of lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase resulting in reduced production of inflammatory mediators (e.g., leukotrienes and histamine). Quercetin appears to inhibit cyclooxygenase to a greater degree than lipoxygenase.

Multitargeted cancer prevention by quercetin.

The dietary bioflavonoid, quercetin, selectively induces apoptosis of prostate cancer cells by down-regulating the expression of heat shock protein 90

Role of Bax in quercetin-induced apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells.

Ongoing Clinical Trial - Clinical trials with Quercetin

Myricetin flavonol -- grapes, berries, walnuts, red wine The molecular pathway of apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines induced by myricetin might deal with the mitochondria-mediated pathway. Studies on mechanism of myricetin-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG-2 cells

flavonol --

tea, broccoli, brussel sprouts, apples

Ginkgo biloba

Kaempferol and quercetin stimulate granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor secretion in human prostate cancer cells.

Synergistic Antiproliferative Action of the Flavonols Quercetin and Kaempferol in Cultured Human Cancer Cell Lines

Kaempferol and quercetin, components of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761), induce caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in oral cavity cancer cells.




Soy, fava beans

inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and by genistein an inhibitor of protein tyrosine kinase

acts as an antioxidant, similar to many other isoflavones, counteracting damaging effects of free radicals in tissues

antiangiogenic effects (blocking formation of new blood vessels),

a strong topoisomerase inhibitor

Due to its structure similarity to 17ß-estradiol, genistein can compete with it and bind to estrogen receptors

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Genistein in Treating Patients With Prostate Cancer --completion date 2014

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Vitamin D and Soy Supplements in Treating Patients With Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Ongoing Clinical Trial - Isoflavones

Curcumin Tumeric

anti-inflammatory properties

Curcumin may synergizes with isoflavones to suppress PSA production in prostate cells through the anti-androgen effects.

down-regulation of AR (androgen receptor) and AR-related cofactors (AP-1, NF-kappa-B and CBP).

Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo.


Combined inhibitory effects of soy isoflavones and curcumin on the production of prostate-specific antigen.

Curry And Cauliflower Could Halt Prostate Cancer

Combined inhibitory effects of curcumin and phenethyl isothiocyanate on the growth of human PC-3 prostate xenografts in immunodeficient mice.

Curcumin, a Dietary Component, Has Anticancer, Chemosensitization, and Radiosensitization Effects by Down-regulating the MDM2 Oncogene through the PI3K/mTOR/ETS2 Pathway

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Curcumin

3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM)

--a metabolite of I3C

Brassica vegetables (cabbages, or as mustard family) such as broccoli, cauliflower, and collard greens

a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that 3,3'-Diindolylmethane in Brassica vegetables is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. --

G1 arrest

ck linus pauling institute

3,3'-Diindolylmethane induces a G1 arrest in human prostate cancer cells irrespective of androgen receptor and p53 status

Ongoing Clinical Trial --Diindolylmethane in Treating Patients With Stage I or Stage II Prostate Cancer Undergoing Radical Prostatectomy

Ongoing Clinical Trials Diindolylmethane (DIM)


cruciferous vegetables

Young sprouts of broccoli and cauliflower


Sulforaphane destabilizes the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells by inactivating histone deacetylase 6

Sulforaphane activates the transcription factor NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a member of the basic leucine zipper family, which binds to and activates antioxidant-response elements (AREs). Subsequently, activated AREs mediate the transcription of antioxidant enzymes (particularly glutathione-S-transferase and quinone oxidoreductase), resulting in the detoxification of highly reactive carcinogens. AREs are cis-acting regulatory enhancer elements found in the 5’ flanking region of many phase II detoxification enzymes.

Sulforaphane destabilizes the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells by inactivating histone deacetylase 6

Sulforaphane induces caspase-mediated apoptosis in cultured PC-3 human prostate cancer cells and retards growth of PC-3 xenografts in vivo


Clincial Trials

The Effects of Sulforaphane in Patients With Biochemical Recurrence of Prostate Cancer

indole-3-carbinol (I3C) cabbage, broccoli, cashews, soy beans,

Indole-3-carbinol mediated cell cycle arrest of LNCaP human prostate cancer cells requires the induced production of activated p53 tumor suppressor protein.

Sloan Kettering References

Clinical Trials

Ongoing Clinical Trial -Brassica Vegetables or Indole-3-Carbinol in Treating Patients With PSA Recurrence After Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Ongoing Clinical Trial -The Effects of Sulforaphane in Patients With Biochemical Recurrence of Prostate Cancer


Beta Sitosterol phytosteol found in avocado, pumpkin seeds, saw palmetto See mechanisms of action from Linus Pauling Insitute

Beta-Sitosterol and the Aging Prostate Gland, Dr Stephen B. Strum and William Faloon, Life Extension, Fort Lauderdale,FL, June 2005.

Ongoing Clinical Trial -- The Effect of Dietary Sitosterol on Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

Silibinin also known as silybin


isosilybin B appears more active

Milk Thistle

suppresses the growth and runaway proliferation of human prostate cancer cells

Note: This compound intereferes with drug breakdown... ck which cytochrome and drugs...


Prostate cancer prevention by silibinin.

Silibinin inhibits prostate cancer invasion, motility and migration by suppressing vimentin and MMP-2 expression

The Effect of High-Dose Silybin-Phytosome in Men With Prostate Cancer --Clinical Trial Completed

Inhibition of telomerase activity and secretion of prostate specific antigen by silibinin in prostate cancer cells

Antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of silibinin in rat prostate cancer cells.


Capsaicin chili peppers

capsaicin is able to kill prostate cancer as well as lung cancer cells by causing them to undergo apoptosis


Phase III placebo-controlled trial of capsaicin cream in the management of surgical neuropathic pain in cancer patients.

Capsaicin may slow PSA doubling time: case report and literature review

Clinical Trials


polyphenol and phytoalexin

grape skins, red wine

Multi-modes of action

Anti-cancer effect of resveratrol is associated with induction of apoptosis via a mitochondrial pathway alignment

Unique Grape Skin Extract Inhibits Prostate Cancer Cell Growth in the Laboratory

Ongoing Clinical Trial -Resveratrol for Improved Performance in the Elderly

Clinical Trials

Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) Fatty fish and fish oil

Reduces inflammation

DHA induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by activating protein phosphatases, leading to dephosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (pRB). Protein phosphatases are also involved with the protein Bcl2, which regulates the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, and eventually, activation of the apoptotic enzyme caspase 3.

Omega 3-fatty acids: health benefits and cellular mechanisms of action.

Dietary Fish and Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Breast Cancer Prevention

Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid --Mayo Clinic

Fish oil fights weight loss due to chemotherapy

Ongoing Clinical Trial -- Fish Oil

Apigenin plant flavanoid found in herbs inactivates Akt to trigger apoptosis in human prostate cancer

Plant flavonoid apigenin inactivates Akt to trigger apoptosis in human prostate cancer: an in vitro and in vivo study


ellagic acid numerous fruits and vegetables

antioxidant properties

antiproliferative properties of ellagic acid are due to its ability to directly inhibit the DNA binding of certain carcinogens, including nitrosamines

Ellagic acid and quercetin interact synergistically with resveratrol in the induction of apoptosis and cause transient cell cycle arrest in human leukemia cells.
Punicalagin (ellagitannin compound) pomegranate extract

Antioxidant properties

breakdown to urolithins

Phase II study of pomegranate juice for men with rising prostate-specific antigen following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer.

Pomegranate Juice References (MSKCC)

urolithins inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in cell culture

isothiocyanates (ITCs


watercress, horseradish

precursor to ITC phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC).

reducing DNA damage

resist further DNA damage caused by free radicals

NOTE: phenethyl isothiocyanates are formed when cruciferous vegetables are cut, but stops when they are heated.

Chemoprevention by Isothiocyanates


Effects of phenylethyl isothiocyanate and its metabolite on cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells.

Differential Response of Normal (PrEC) and Cancerous Human Prostate Cells (PC-3) to Phenethyl Isothiocyanate-Mediated Changes in Expression of Antioxidant Defense Genes.

Phenethyl isothiocyanate inhibits STAT3 activation in prostate cancer cells. 2009

Vitamin E


check tocopherol and tocotrienol structures a,b.,..

fat soluble anti-oxidant that stops the production of ROS formed when fat undergoes oxidation Vitamin E Supplements in Preventing Cancer in Patients at Risk of Prostate Cancer or Who Have Prostate Cancer

vegetable oils, saw palmetto

Note: tocotrienol tocopherols with unsaturated chain

the suppression of the NF-KB cell signaling pathway

decrease in the expression of two cell proteins (PCNA and Ki67) associated with cell proliferation

Gamma-Tocotrienol Kills Prostate Cancer Stem Cells

New Study shows that Gamma-Tocotrienol is the most Cardioprotective Tocotrienol

gamma-Tocotrienol Inhibits Pancreatic Tumors and Sensitizes Them to Gemcitabine Treatment by Modulating the Inflammatory Microenvironment

Gamma-tocotrienol inhibits nuclear factor-kappaB signaling pathway through inhibition of receptor-interacting protein and TAK1 leading to suppression of antiapoptotic gene products and potentiation of apoptosis.

Vitamin C fresh fruits and vegetables

anti-oxidant effect

remove free radicals

to destabilize a tumor's ability to grow under conditions where there isn't enough oxygen to feed it.

HIF-Dependent Antitumorigenic Effect of Antioxidants In Vivo

Lentinan (1,3 Beta-D-glucan)



Grifon Pro D-fraction --

shitake, Maitake mushrooms

immune system enhancer --

Lentinan's active polysaccharide, 1,3 beta glucan, is not cytotoxic but seems to enhance T-helper cell function and increase stimulation of interleukin, interferon, and normal killer cells

See -- Sloan Kettering information


(ketosamine) with lycopene

tomatoes... processed tomato paste

dried fruits and vegetables

image of lycopene molecule

metal chelating and antioxidant properties

antioxidant activity, inhibition of cell cycle progression, induction of apoptosis, increase of gap-junctional cell communication, inhibition of insulin-like growth factor I signal transduction, inhibition of androgen activation and signaling,

Tomato Ingredient May Offer Prostate Protection


Interaction of Tomato Lycopene and Ketosamine against Rat Prostate Tumorigenesis

Soyasaponin 1 soybeans inhibition of the Akt signaling pathway and enhanced activity of ERK1/2

Soyasaponin I Attenuates TNBS-Induced Colitis in Mice by Inhibiting NF-kappaB Pathway

Inhibition of Akt signaling and enhanced ERK1/2 activity are involved in induction of macroautophagy by triterpenoid B-group soyasaponins in colon cancer cells.

Soyasaponin I decreases the expression of a2,3-linked sialic acid on the cell surface and suppresses the metastatic potential of B16F10 melanoma cells

Nitrate Beet Roots (also carrots --root vegetables)

Note:The Beet plant root has the largest quantity of nitrates amongst the vegetables consumed by humans

Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults

Viagra and Nitrates Don't Mix

Betacyanin (betalains) beets COX-1 and COX-2 inhibition

Relative Inhibition of Lipid Peroxidation, Cyclooxygenase Enzymes, and Human Tumor Cell Proliferation by Natural Food Colors

Phenolic composition, antioxidant capacity and in vitro cancer cell cytotoxicity of nine prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) juices.

Fisetin Strawberries Researchers observed that blood and brain levels of sugars affixed to proteins known as advanced glycation end-products-or AGEs-were reduced in fisetin-treated compared to untreated Akita mice. These decreases were accompanied by increased activity of the enzyme glyoxalase 1, which promotes removal of toxic AGE precursors. Flavonoids could represent 2-fisted assault on diabetes and nervous system disorders

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