In Vitro-In Vivo Dose Response of Ursolic Acid, Sulforaphane, PEITC, and Curcumin in Cancer Prevention

Christina N. Ramirez, Wenji Li, Chengyue Zhang, Renyi Wu, Shan Su, Chao Wang, Linbo Gao, Ran Yin, Ah Ng Tony Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Scopus citations


According to the National Center of Health Statistics, cancer was the culprit of nearly 600,000 deaths in 2016 in the USA. It is by far one of the most heterogeneous diseases to treat. Treatment for metastasized cancers remains a challenge despite modern diagnostics and treatment regimens. For this reason, alternative approaches are needed. Chemoprevention using dietary phytochemicals such as triterpenoids, isothiocyanates, and curcumin in the prevention of initiation and/or progression of cancer poses a promising alternative strategy. However, significant challenges exist in the extrapolation of in vitro cell culture data to in vivo efficacy in animal models and to humans. In this review, the dose at which these phytochemicals elicit a response in vitro and in vivo of a multitude of cellular signaling pathways will be reviewed highlighting Nrf2-mediated antioxidative stress, anti-inflammation, epigenetics, cytoprotection, differentiation, and growth inhibition. The in vitro-in vivo dose response of phytochemicals can vary due, in part, to the cell line/animal model used, the assay system of the biomarker used for the readout, chemical structure of the functional analog of the phytochemical, and the source of compounds used for the treatment study. While the dose response varies across different experimental designs, the chemopreventive efficacy appears to remain and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of triterpenoids, isothiocyanates, and curcumin in cancer prevention and in health in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalAAPS Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


  • chemoprevention
  • curcumin
  • isothiocyanates
  • phytochemical
  • triterpenoids

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