They found that resveratrol undergoes metabolic changes by the cytochrome P450 enzyme, CYP1B1. The resultant metabolite was identified as the known antileukemic agent, piceatannol.
The enzyme CYP1B1 is overexpressed in a wide variety of human tumors. This means that resveratrol can selectively target and destroy cancer cells.
Piceatannol was identified by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis, using fluorescence detection.
| Resveratrol is converted into an anticancer agent by CYP1B1.
| British Journal of Cancer |
The identity of the metabolite was further confirmed by derivatization, followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry studies, using authentic piceatannol for comparison.
The authors note that this observation provides a novel explanation for the cancer preventative properties of resveratrol.
Professor Gerry Potter, of the School of Pharmacy at De Montfort University, Leicester, said on behalf of his colleagues, "This study demonstrates that a natural dietary cancer preventative agent can be converted to a compound with known anticancer activity by an enzyme that is found in human tumors."
"Importantly, this result gives insight into the functional role of CYP1B1.
"It provides evidence for the concept that CYP1B1 in tumors may be functioning as a growth suppressor enzyme," he concluded.