TABLE 1 | Cancer prevention agents: selected drugs and nutrients

From the following article:

Future directions in cancer prevention

Asad Umar, Barbara K. Dunn & Peter Greenwald

Nature Reviews Cancer 12, 835-848 (December 2012)


AgentCancer typeStage of agent developmentRefs
SERMs tamoxifen and raloxifeneBreast cancer in high-risk womenFDA-approved after Phase III trials62,63,64,65
Aromatase inhibitors anastrozole and exemestaneHigh-risk post-menopausal women; CLBC risk reduction; risk reduction for oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancerExemestane, Phase III trial completed; anastrozole, Phase III trial ongoing. Not yet FDA-approved for prevention (approved for adjuvant breast cancer treatment)66,67,68
MetforminPancreas, HCC, CRC, lung and all-cancer incidence (possibly breast)FDA-approved for first-line management of type 2 diabetes; ongoing clinical trials to assess use for cancer risk reduction36,58,60,61
AspirinAll-cancer mortality, colon, CRC, oesophageal and lungNot FDA-approved for cancer prevention; may be used off-label70,71,72,73
Combination of sulindac and DMFORecurrent (advanced) adenomaOngoing Phase III trial82
5-α-reductase inhibitors finasteride and dutasterideProstatePost-Phase III analyses to determine influence on increase in high-grade tumours83,84
Soy isoflavonesBreastClinical trials20
Lycopene (tomatoes)Prostate and lungPhase II RCT (prostate); cohort studies (lung)20
Resveratrol (grapes and red wine)Oesophageal, intestinal, colon and othersPreclinical and animal studies20,146
Omega-3-fatty acids (fish oil)Prostate, breast and colonAnimal models (prostate, breast and colon); Phase II studies (all cancer)20
PomegranateBreast, lung and prostatePreclinical and animal studies (breast and lung); Phase II study (prostate)20
CurcuminCarcinogenesis, prostate and colorectalPreclinical and animal studies; limited human trial data20,76,146
CLBC, contralateral breast cancer; CRC, colorectal cancer; DMFO, difluoromethylornithine; FDA, US Food and Drug Administration; HCC, hepatocellular cancer; RCT, randomized controlled trial; SERM, selective oestrogen receptor modulator.

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