Affiliation: Department of Pathology II, Kansai Medical University, Moriguchi, Osaka 570-8506, Japan.
Garlic and garlic-derived compounds reduce the development of mammary cancer in animals and suppress the growth of human breast cancer cells in culture. Oil-soluble compounds derived from garlic, such as diallyl disulfide (DADS), are more effective than water-soluble compounds in suppressing breast cancer. Mechanisms of action include the activation of metabolizing enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, the suppression of DNA adduct formation, the inhibition of the production of reactive oxygen species, the regulation of cell-cycle arrest and the induction of apoptosis. Selenium-enriched garlic or organoselenium compounds provide more potent protection against mammary carcinogenesis in rats and greater inhibition of breast cancer cells in culture than natural garlic or the respective organosulfur analogues. DADS synergizes the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, a breast cancer suppressor, and antagonizes the effect of linoleic acid, a breast cancer enhancer. Moreover, garlic extract reduces the side effects caused by anti-cancer agents. Thus, garlic and garlic-derived compounds are promising candidates for breast cancer control.