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1.  Bioactive Food Components, Inflammatory Targets, and Cancer Prevention 
Various dietary components may modify chronic inflammatory processes at the stage of cytokine production, amplification of nuclear factor-κB–mediated inflammatory gene expression, and the release of anti-inflammatory cytokine, transforming growth factor-β. This review provides a synopsis of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence that specific bioactive food components influence inflammation-related targets linked to cancer. A target repeatedly surfacing as a site of action for several dietary components is transforming growth factor β. Whereas the use of dietary intervention strategies offers intriguing possibilities for maintaining normal cell function by modifying a process that is essential for cancer development and progression, more information is needed to characterize the minimum quantity of the bioactive food components required to bring about a change in inflammation-mediated cancer, the ideal time for intervention, and the importance of genetics in determining the response. Unquestionably, the societal benefits of using foods and their components to prevent chronic inflammation and associated complications, including cancer, are enormous.
PMCID: PMC3449301  PMID: 19258539
2.  Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics: Viewpoints on the Current Status and Applications in Nutrition Research and Practice 
Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics hold much promise for providing better nutritional advice to the public generally, genetic subgroups and individuals. Because nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics require a deep understanding of nutrition, genetics and biochemistry and ever new ‘omic’ technologies, it is often difficult, even for educated professionals, to appreciate their relevance to the practice of preventive approaches for optimising health, delaying onset of disease and diminishing its severity. This review discusses (i) the basic concepts, technical terms and technology involved in nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics; (ii) how this emerging knowledge can be applied to optimise health, prevent and treat diseases; (iii) how to read, understand and interpret nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic research results, and (iv) how this knowledge may potentially transform nutrition and dietetic practice, and the implications of such a transformation. This is in effect an up-to-date overview of the various aspects of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics relevant to health practitioners who are seeking a better understanding of this new frontier in nutrition research and its potential application to dietetic practice.
PMCID: PMC3121546  PMID: 21625170
Dietetics; Nutrigenetics; Nutrigenomics; Nutrition Research; Personalised nutrition
3.  Nutrigenomics, Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention 
Although there is growing epidemiological, preclinical and clinical evidence suggesting that low vitamin D intake, exposure and/or status is associated with an increased risk of various types of cancer, the optimum amount needed remains controversial. Furthermore, there is evidence that a U- or J-shaped response curve exist between 25(OH)D and certain cancers. Increasing information about the impact of genetic variation, especially polymorphisms that influence absorption, transport, metabolism and associated molecular targets, should help clarify inconsistencies in the data regarding vitamin D's effect on cancer risk. Rather than focusing on the main effects of a few variants of these genes alone, future studies need to consider gene-nutrient or environmental interactions. Nutrigenomics should clarify who might benefit and be placed at risk because of vitamin D exposure.
PMCID: PMC3219444  PMID: 21430387
Vitamin D; Cancer prevention; Vitamin D receptor; Nutrigenomics; Biomarkers; Polymorphisms
4.  Determinants of selenium status in healthy adults 
Nutrition Journal  2011;10:75.
Selenium (Se) status in non-deficient subjects is typically assessed by the Se contents of plasma/serum. That pool comprises two functional, specific selenoprotein components and at least one non-functional, non-specific components which respond differently to changes in Se intake. A more informative means of characterizing Se status in non-deficient individuals is needed.
Multiple biomarkers of Se status (plasma Se, serum selenoprotein P [SEPP1], plasma glutathione peroxidase activity [GPX3], buccal cell Se, urinary Se) were evaluated in relation to selenoprotein genotypes (GPX1, GPX3, SEPP1, SEP15), dietary Se intake, and parameters of single-carbon metabolism in a cohort of healthy, non-Se-deficient men (n = 106) and women (n = 155).
Plasma Se concentration was 142.0 ± 23.5 ng/ml, with GPX3 and serum-derived SEPP1 calculated to comprise 20% and 34%, respectively, of that total. The balance, comprised of non-specific components, accounted for virtually all of the interindividual variation in total plasma Se. Buccal cell Se was associated with age and plasma homocysteine (hCys), but not plasma Se. SEPP1 showed a quadratic relationship with body mass index, peaking at BMI 25-30. Urinary Se was greater in women than men, and was associated with metabolic body weight (kg0.75), plasma folate, vitamin B12 and hCys (negatively). One GPX1 genotype (679T/T) was associated with significantly lower plasma Se levels than other allelic variants. Selenium intake, estimated from food frequency questionnaires, did not predict Se status as indicated by any biomarker. These results show that genotype, methyl-group status and BMI contribute to variation in Se biomarkers in Se-adequate individuals.
PMCID: PMC3160353  PMID: 21767397
5.  Gossypol induces apoptosis by activating p53 in prostate cancer cells and prostate tumor-initiating cells 
Prostate cancer (PCa) continues to represent a burgeoning medical problem in the United States. Recent studies suggest that gossypol, a bioactive phytochemical produced by cotton plants, is a promising agent against prostate cancer. The current studies were undertaken to examine the chemotherapeutic efficacy of gossypol on human prostate cancer cell lines and prostate tumor-initiating cells (pTICs). Gossypol reduced viability of three prostate cancer cell lines (LAPC4, PC3, and DU145) with an IC50 between 3–5 μM. Additionally, gossypol was effective at inhibiting pTIC-driven tumor growth in a NOD/SCID xenograft model. Our integrated molecular profiling approach encompassing proteomics, activated transcription factors and genomics suggests that the decrease in viability was associated with increased DNA damage and the induction of apoptosis. Exposure of DU145 cells to gossypol (1 – 10 μM) resulted in the activation of 13 proteins, 7 transcription factors, and expression of 17 genes involved in the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. These studies demonstrate for the first time that gossypol treatment induces DNA damage and activates p53. Collectively, this data supports the use of gossypol as a novel agent for PCa.
PMCID: PMC2820604  PMID: 20124455
Gossypol; prostate tumor-initiating cells; p53; apoptosis; prostate cancer
6.  Mouse Models for Unraveling the Importance of Diet in Colon Cancer Prevention 
Diet and genetics are both considered important risk determinants for colorectal cancer, a leading cause of death worldwide. Several genetically engineered mouse models have been created, including the ApcMin mouse, to aid in the identification of key cancer related processes and to assist with the characterization of environmental factors, including the diet, which influence risk. Current research using these models provides evidence that several bioactive food components can inhibit genetically predisposed colorectal cancer, while others increase risk. Specifically, calorie restriction or increased exposure to n-3 fatty acids, sulforaphane, chafuroside, curcumin, and dibenzoylmethane were reported protective. Total fat, calories and all-trans retinoic acid are associated with an increased risk. Unraveling the importance of specific dietary components in these models is complicated by the basal diet used, the quantity of test components provided, and interactions among food components. Newer models are increasingly available to evaluate fundamental cellular processes, including DNA mismatch repair, immune function and inflammation as markers for colon cancer risk. Unfortunately, these models have been used infrequently to examine the influence of specific dietary components. The enhanced use of these models can shed mechanistic insights about the involvement of specific bioactive food and components and energy as determinants of colon cancer risk. However, the use of available mouse models to exactly represent processes important to human gastrointestinal cancers will remain a continued scientific challenge.
PMCID: PMC2871384  PMID: 20122631
colorectal; cancer; diet; APC; sulforaphane; mouse
7.  A GC/MS method for the quantitation of N-nitrosoproline and N-acetyl-S-allylcysteine in human urine 
Analytical biochemistry  2009;394(2):243-248.
Biomarkers in urine can provide useful information about the bioactivation of chemical carcinogens and can be used to investigate the chemoprotective properties of dietary nutrients. N-nitrosoproline (NPRO) excretion has been used as an index for endogenous nitrosation. In vitro and animal studies have reported that compounds in garlic may suppress nitrosation and inhibit carcinogenesis. We present a new method for extraction and sensitive detection of both NPRO and N-acetyl-S-allylcysteine from urine. The latter is a major metabolite of S-allyl cysteine which is abundant in garlic. Urine was acidified and the organic acids extracted by reversed phase extraction (RP-SPE) and use of a polymeric weak anion exchange (WAX-SPE) resin. NPRO was quantified by isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using 13C5NPRO and N-nitrosopipecolic acid (NPIC) as internal standards. This method was used to analyze urine samples from a study that was designed to test whether garlic supplementation inhibits NPRO synthesis. Using this method, 2.4 to 46 ng of NPRO per mL urine was detected. The method is straightforward, reliable and can be performed with readily available GC/MS instruments. N-acetyl-S-allylcysteine was quantified in the same fraction and detectable at levels of 4.1 to 176.4 ng per mL of urine. The results suggest that 3 to 5 grams of garlic supplements inhibited NPRO synthesis to an extent similar to a 0.5 g dose of ascorbic acid or a commercial supplement of aged garlic extract. Urinary NPRO concentration was inversely associated with the N-acetyl-S-allylcysteine concentration. It is possible that allyl sulfur compounds found in garlic may inhibit nitrosation in humans. .
PMCID: PMC2755231  PMID: 19643074
biomarkers; allyl sulfur compounds; nitrosation; nutrition; cancer
8.  Bioactive Food Components and Cancer-Specific Metabonomic Profiles 
Cancer cells possess unique metabolic signatures compared to normal cells, including shifts in aerobic glycolysis, glutaminolysis, and de novo biosynthesis of macromolecules. Targeting these changes with agents (drugs and dietary components) has been employed as strategies to reduce the complications associated with tumorigenesis. This paper highlights the ability of several food components to suppress tumor-specific metabolic pathways, including increased expression of glucose transporters, oncogenic tyrosine kinase, tumor-specific M2-type pyruvate kinase, and fatty acid synthase, and the detection of such effects using various metabonomic technologies, including liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and stable isotope-labeled MS. Stable isotope-mediated tracing technologies offer exciting opportunities for defining specific target(s) for food components. Exposures, especially during the early transition phase from normal to cancer, are critical for the translation of knowledge about food components into effective prevention strategies. Although appropriate dietary exposures needed to alter cellular metabolism remain inconsistent and/or ill-defined, validated metabonomic biomarkers for dietary components hold promise for establishing effective strategies for cancer prevention.
PMCID: PMC2989380  PMID: 21113295
9.  Gastrointestinal microflora, food components and colon cancer prevention 
Evidence is emerging that the intestinal microbiota is intrinsically linked with overall health, including cancer risk. Moreover, its composition is not fixed, but can be influenced by several dietary components. Dietary modifiers, including the consumption of live bacteria (probiotics), nondigestible or limited digestible food constituents such as oligosaccharides (prebiotics) and polyphenols, or both (synbiotics), are recognized modifiers of the numbers and types of microbes and have been reported to reduce colon cancer risk experimentally. Microorganisms also have the ability to generate bioactive compounds from food components. Examples include equol from isoflavones, enterodiol and enterolactone from lignans, and urolithins from ellagic acid, which have also been demonstrated to retard experimentally induced cancers. The gastrointestinal microbiota can also influence both sides of the energy balance equation; namely, as a factor influencing energy utilization from the diet and as a factor that influences host genes that regulate energy expenditure and storage. Because of the link between obesity and cancer incidence and mortality, this complex relationship deserves greater attention. Thus, a complex interrelationship exists between the intestinal microbiota and colon cancer risk which can be modified by dietary components and eating behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2743755  PMID: 19716282
prebiotics; probiotics; microbiota; colon cancer
10.  The Role of Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention 
Historically herbs and spices have enjoyed a rich tradition of use for their flavor-enhancement characteristics and for their medicinal properties. The rising prevalence of chronic diseases world-wide and the corresponding rise in health care costs is propelling interest among researchers and the public for these food related items for multiple health benefits, including a reduction in cancer risk and modification of tumor behavior. A growing body of epidemiological and preclinical evidence points to culinary herbs and spices as minor dietary constituents with multiple anticancer characteristics. This review focuses on the anti-microbial, antioxidant, and anti-tumorigenic properties of herbs and spices, their ability to influence carcinogen bioactivation, and likely anticancer contributions. While culinary herbs and spices present intriguing possibilities for health promotion, more complete information is needed about the actual exposures to dietary components that are needed to bring about a response and the molecular target(s) for specific herbs and spices. Only after this information is obtained will it be possible to define appropriate intervention strategies to achieve maximum benefits from herbs and spices without eliciting ill-consequences.
PMCID: PMC2771684  PMID: 18499033
diet; herbs; spices; cancer prevention
11.  Effects of the sesquiterpene lactone parthenolide on prostate tumor-initiating cells: an integrated molecular profiling approach 
The Prostate  2009;69(8):827-837.
Recent evidence suggests tumor-initating cells (TICs), also called cancer stem cells, are responsible for tumor initiation and progression; therefore, they represent an important cell population for development of future anti-cancer therapies. In this study, we show that the sesquiterpene lactone parthenolide (PTL) is cytotoxic to prostate TICs isolated from prostate cancer cell lines: DU145, PC3, VCAP and LAPC4, as well as primary prostate TICs. Furthermore, PTL inhibited TIC-driven tumor formation in mouse xenografts. Using an integrated molecular profiling approach encompassing proteomics, profiles of activated transcription factors and genomics we ascertained the effects of PTL on prostate cancer cells. In addition to the previously described effects of PTL, we determined that the non-receptor tyrosine kinase src, and many src signaling components, including: Csk, FAK, β1-arrestin, FGFR2, PKC, MEK/MAPK, CaMK, ELK-1 and ELK-1-dependent genes are novel targets of PTL action. Furthermore, PTL altered the binding of transcription factors important in prostate cancer including: C/EBP-α, fos related antigen-1 (FRA-1), HOXA-4, c-MYB, SNAIL, SP1, serum response factor (SRF), STAT3, X-box binding protein-1 (XBP1) and p53. In summary, we show PTL is cytotoxic to prostate TICs and describe the molecular events of PTL-mediated cytotoxicity. Therefore, PTL represents a promising therapeutic for prostate cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC2700306  PMID: 19204913
prostate; cancer stem cells; parthenolide; phytonutrient
12.  Public Health Genomics: Translating Obesity Genomics Research Into Population Health Benefits 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2008;16(Suppl 3):S85-S94.
We examine how a public health genomics framework can be used to move genomic discoveries into clinical and public health practice for obesity prevention and treatment. There are four phases of translational research: T1: discovery to candidate health application; T2: health application to evidence-based practice guidelines; T3: practice guidelines to health practice; and T4: practice to population health impact. Types of multidisciplinary research and knowledge synthesis needed for each phase, as well as the importance of developing and disseminating evidence-based guidelines, are discussed. Because obesity genomics research is mostly in the discovery phase or in the very early phases of translation (T1), the authors present this framework to illustrate the range of translation activities needed to move genomic discoveries in obesity to actual applications that reduce the burden of obesity at the population level.
PMCID: PMC2736102  PMID: 19037221
13.  Integrating the Totality of Food and Nutrition Evidence for Public Health Decision Making and Communication 
The interpretation and integration of epidemiological studies detecting weak associations (RR < 2) with data from other study designs (e.g., animal models and human intervention trials) is both challenging and vital for making science-based dietary recommendations in the nutrition and food safety communities. The 2008 ILSI North America “Decision-Making for Recommendations and Communication Based on Totality of Food-Related Research” workshop provided an overview of epidemiological methods, and case-study examples of how weak associations have been incorporated into decision making for nutritional recommendations. Based on the workshop presentations and dialogue among the participants, three clear strategies were provided for the use of weak associations in informing nutritional recommendations for optimal health. First, enable more effective integration of data from all sources through the use of genetic and nutritional biomarkers; second, minimize the risk of bias and confounding through the adoption of rigorous quality-control standards, greater emphasis on the replication of study results, and better integration of results from independent studies, perhaps using adaptive study designs and Bayesian meta-analysis methods; and third, emphasize more effective and truthful communication to the public about the evolving understanding of the often complex relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and optimal health.
PMCID: PMC3024840  PMID: 21132578
epidemiology; weak associations; dietary guidelines; decision making; communication; nutrition; Bayesian; biomarker
14.  Biomarkers in nutrition: new frontiers in research and application 
Nutritional biomarkers—biochemical, functional, or clinical indices of nutrient intake, status, or functional effects—are needed to support evidence-based clinical guidance and effective health programs and policies related to food, nutrition, and health. Such indices can reveal information about biological or physiological responses to dietary behavior or pathogenic processes, and can be used to monitor responses to therapeutic interventions and to provide information on interindividual differences in response to diet and nutrition. Many nutritional biomarkers are available; yet there has been no formal mechanism to establish consensus regarding the optimal biomarkers for particular nutrients and applications.
PMCID: PMC3627310  PMID: 23488557
biomarkers; nutrition; nutrients

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