Indole-3-Carbinol may protect the lungs from cancer causing chemicals

March 13, 2009

The A/J mouse is inbred for cancer research. This mouse easily develops lung cancer when exposed to cancer causing substances such as tobacco smoke. Recently researchers at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis reported that the nutrient Indole-3-Carbinol inhibited lung cancer in these mice when they were exposed to two dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals that are present in cigarette smoke.  

In this second study a group of the mice were treated with the same cigarette chemicals to cause lung cancer. Over the course of eight weeks each animal developed 21 tumors in its lungs on average. A second group of the mice were also exposed to the cancer causing chemicals but this time half way through the eight week period they were started on one-of-five different doses of Indole-3-carbinol that was added to their food.  

The mice receiving the lowest dosage of I-3-C developed 18 tumors on average, those with the next highest I-3-C developed just 10.4 tumors, the next higher dosage of I-3-C developed 9.8 tumors, the next group developed 5 tumors and those on the highest dosage developed just 2 tumors instead of 21 tumors in un-supplemented mice equal to an 88% decrease in the number of tumors. Evidence showed that I-3-C inhibited the multiplication of cancerous cells and was causing the death of the cancerous tissue. The study is published in the December 2008 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.