Nrf2 and Cancer

How can Nrf2 Help Fight Against Cancer?
  • Protects cells against cellular stress/free radical damage
  • Safeguards cells from effects of inflammatory stress
  • Enhance production/activity of the body’s potent antioxidant enzymes
  • Restrict/modulate underlying mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis (formation of cancer cells)
  • Positively influences genes involved in formation of cancer cells
  • Shows ability to slow progression of and “kill” cancer cells
Nrf2 Boasts Impressive Anti-Cancer Effects:
More than one thousand scientific publications describe the relationship between Nrf2 activation and various types of cancer. These studies span the entire range of scientific study design, from clinical supplementation trials in humans, to mechanistic studies in specific cell cultures, to gene activation studies, and even specialized studies of Nrf2 metabolism in different models of chronic diseases. Nrf2 is perhaps the most important cell defense and survival pathway – protecting cells and tissues from a variety of toxicants and carcinogens. Because Nrf2 activation increases dozens of cellular protective functions, several pharmaceutical activators of Nrf2 are under study in clinical trials. For instance, researchers from the National Cancer Institute stated that in their review of several studies, the “finding… implicate Nrf2 as a promising molecular target for cancer prevention” (Cancer Prevention Research, 2008). Other researchers from China found that “an increasing body of evidence supports the premise that the Nrf2/ARE pathway plays a critical role in the protective mechanism of cells” (Food Science and Human Wellness, 2013). And recently, results from a Rutgers University-based study found that the “. . . defense enzymes mediated by Nrf2-antioxidative stress and anti-inflammatory signaling pathways can contribute to cellular protection against . . . carcinogens” (Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2013). While more research is still needed, these studies and others comprise a growing body of evidence demonstrating that Nrf2 is indeed a potentially powerful weapon against cancer.
Skin Cancer:
Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Neuroscience at Louisiana State University found that “Nrf2 synergizer” could suppress both the development and spread of skin cancer. Elevated levels of protective antioxidant enzymes led to a 57% reduction in number of skin tumors in a mouse model skin of cancer (PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5284). In a follow-up study using the same model, the same research group found that “Nrf2 synergizer”  significantly reduced the development of skin cancer following exposure to carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals (PLoS One. 2010 Jul 30;5(7):e11902) – suggesting that the multiple modes of action of “Nrf2 synergizer”could potentially be used as a chemopreventive agent due to their ability to modulate underlying mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis (Enzyme Res. 2011;2011:409295).
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Colon Cancer:
Due to the multiple modes of action of “Nrf2 synergizer”, researchers from the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver used an advanced assay method to screen DNA from blood vessels to investigate its effects on activation of Nrf2 and dozens of cellular protection genes (Mol Aspects Med. 2011 Aug;32(4-6):234-46). “Nrf2 activator” significantly modulated 25 of 28 (89%) colon carcinoma-specific gene targets, leading the authors to conclude that “Nrf2 activators may well spawn a new class of drugs to target the so-called ‘diseases of aging,’ including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.“
Breast Cancer:
“Nrf2 synergizer” was shown to suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer by researchers at Louisiana State University (The FASEB Journal. 2012;26:1118.5). The study of isolated breast cancer cells compared the potential of both “Nrf2 synergizer” and Tamoxifen (an existing drug used to treat breast cancer) to reduce the growth/spread of human breast cancer cells. Results showed that both “Nrf2 synergizer” and Tamoxifen were effective in reducing breast cancer cell growth by many of the same biochemical signals.
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Ovarian Cancer & Myeloma (Bone Marrow Cancer):
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Prasongsook, Biomedical Sciences Thesis, 2014) showed that “Nrf2 synergizer” produced a range of significant anti-cancer effects against ovarian cancer and myeloma (bone marrow cancer). In a series of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Nrf2 synergizer” was shown to have anti-cancer effects in ovarian cancer cells and myeloma (bone marrow cancer) cells, while sparing normal healthy cells. “Nrf2 synergizer” showed anti-tumor and anti-proliferative effects (reduced tumor formation and growth) across 8 different ovarian cancer cell lines, including both chemotherapy-sensitive and chemotherapy-resistant cells (Cisplatin/cisplatinum and Taxol/paclitaxel). “Nrf2 synergizer” showed selective cytotoxicity (cell-killing) effects in ovarian cancer cells and myeloma cells – while sparing normal (non-cancerous) cells.

*Information provided on this site is for educational purposes only. Do your own research, and consult with a medical professional about your findings. “Nrf2 activator” is a dietary supplement, not a drug. We do not promote or intend to imply or represent that it can prevent, cure, treat or mitigate any disease or class of disease. “Nrf2 activator” is not intended to be an alternative or replacement for any drug or biological product.