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European Food Research and Technology

pp 1–18

First Online: 10 May 2017Received: 15 November 2016Revised: 28 March 2017Accepted: 14 April 2017DOI: 10.1007-s00217-017-2890-6

Cite this article as: Kruk, J., Aboul-Enein, B., Bernstein, J. et al. Eur Food Res Technol 2017. doi:10.1007-s00217-017-2890-6


The potential role of alkylresorcinol compound from whole grains for prevention and inhibition of human cancer cell lines has been reported in observational and in vitro studies. The objective of this study was to present an updated review on the association between alkylresorcinols and cancer risk and aspects of their bioactivity with implications for carcinogenesis. Relevant studies were identified by searching PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest, EBSCOhost, SpringerLink, ArticleFirst, Taylor and Francis, Wiley Online, and ScienceDirect electronic databases using these search terms and key words: alkylresorcinols, cancer, carcinoma, risk. Furthermore, references from retrieved articles were also reviewed. Four observational and 10 in vitro studies were included in the analysis of natural or synthetic alkylresorcinols for anticancer activities. Two prospective studies reported a 52–66% risk reduction of distal colon cancer at nanomolar alkylresorcinols concentration in plasma; the remaining studies found no reduction of endometrial cancer risk and an approximate 40% increase in prostate cancer risk. In vitro studies presented inhibition of human colon, breast, lung, central nervous system, adenocarcinoma, hepatocarcinoma, cervix squamous carcinoma, and ovarian cancer cell lines, at micromolar alkylresorcinols concentration. Evidence from prospective studies confirmed significant inverse associations between whole grains intake and distal colon cancer risk. Model studies suggest a high cytotoxicity of alkylresorcinols toward cancer cells. These findings maintain that alkylresorcinols as components of whole grains are likely to find application in cancer prevention; however, the need for intervention studies to confirm their preventive action is warranted.

KeywordsAlkylresorcinols Bioactivity Cancer Prevention Cytotoxicity AbbreviationsARsAlkylresorcinols

ROSReactive oxygen species

IGFInsulin growth factor

LDLLow-density lipoprotein

ROO·Peroxyl radical

FFQFood frequency questionnaire

IC50Inhibitory concentration–inhibit cellular proliferation by 50%

PSAProstate specific antigen

OROdds ratio

IRRIncidence rate ratio

CIConfidence interval

TGIConcentration of drugs that totally inhibit cell growth

LC50Concentration of drugs resulting in cell death to 50%


DNADeoxyribonucleic acid

ATPAdenosine triphosphate

Autor: Joanna Kruk - Basil Aboul-Enein - Joshua Bernstein - Mariola Marchlewicz


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