Cancer remains a worrying cause of fatality worldwide despite the advancement in medicine. Among the dietary phytonutrients, tocotrienols have been extensively studied for their bioactivity against cancer. Palm oil is a rich source of tocotrienols. The most common formulation of tocotrienols is the tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil (TRF). The anticancer activities of tocotrienols were once presumed due to their antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. However, recent evidence suggested that tocotrienols are capable of demonstrating cancer-fighting properties through their influence in various signalling pathways. The selectivity of tocotrienols in killing cancer cells without affecting normal cells is indicative of their potential role in cancer treatment and prevention. Tocotrienols had proven to be particularly effective in the chemoprevention and treatment of breast, colorectal, pancreatic, prostate and liver cancers in many in vitro and in vivo animal experiments. However, the efficacy of tocotrienols in the management of human cancers are still questionable due to their poor bioavailability and lack of well-designed clinical trials. Nevertheless, due to their superb safety profiles, palm oil tocotrienols are still considered ideal candidates for future large scale clinical trials to prove their efficacy to treat or prevent cancers in humans.
Part of the book: Elaeis guineensis