Tocopherols exist in four forms designated as α, β, δ, and γ. Due to their strong antioxidant properties, tocopherols have been suggested to reduce the risk of cancer. Cancer prevention studies with tocopherols have mostly utilized α-tocopherol. Large-scale clinical trials with α-tocopherol provided inconsistent results regarding the cancer-preventive activities of tocopherols. This review summarizes our current understanding of the anticancer activities of different forms of tocopherols based on follow-up of the clinical trials, recent epidemiological evidences, and experimental studies using in vitro and in vivo models. The experimental data provide strong evidence in support of the anticancer activities of δ-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, and the natural tocopherol mixture rich in γ-tocopherol, γ-TmT, over α-tocopherol. Such outcomes emphasize the need for detailed investigation into the cancer-preventive activities of different forms of tocopherols to provide a strong rationale for intervention studies in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Cancer prevention
- Vitamin E