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Super Chow, Laced With Semi-Synthetic Vitamin E, Inhibited Spread of Cancer

A chemically altered form of vitamin E mixed into mouse chow dramatically reduced spread of aggressive mammary cancer in mice//, suggesting that the compound in pill form could be used to treat human metastatic cancer, according to a report in the October 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

The study, by investigators at the University of Arizona, is the first to show that the synthetic compound has potent anti-cancer properties when given in the simplest way possible - as a dietary supplement.

“We tried other ways of delivering different forms of the synthetic vitamin, such as by force feeding and injections, but found that one form, alpha-TEA, was more effective when incorporated into food, and that makes it much more clinically useful,” said the study’s lead investigator, Emmanuel T. Akporiaye, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Immunobiology at the University of Arizona.

Mice eating the super chow had a 4.8-fold reduction in the number of tumors that spread to the lungs, compared to control mice, Akporiaye said. An even greater effect was seen when the animals began eating alpha-TEA-laced food as a cancer preventive, he said.

“These preliminary studies are very promising, and it could be that combining this synthetic vitamin E derivative with other anti-cancer treatments may offer the potential of both treating and preventing human breast cancer,” Akporiaye said.

Although vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is an anti-oxidant, it cannot destroy tumor cells by itself, he said. To improve the vitamin, derivatives have been created by swapping a hydroxyl chemical group with an acid. One is alpha-tocopheryl succinate (?-TOS), which used a succinic acid residue, and another is alpha-tocopheryloxyacetic acid (alpha-TEA), which used acetic acid.

Replacing the hydroxyl group in vitamin E helps force cancer cells to self destruct, Akporiaye said, because the compounds work to free up pro-apoptotic pro
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