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A Bioactive Metabolite Which Gobbles Up Skin Cancer Cells

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By Kyle J. Norton

Polysulfides isolated from the organosulfides may have a profound effect in reducing the risk and treatment of skin cancer, according to studies.

Skin, a large organ that forms the out layers of our body has a serval layers of ectodermal tissue and protects the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs against foreign pathogenic invasion.


Skin cancer is a medical condtion characterized by disordered and irregular cell growth in the skin.


Most cases of primary skin cancer start in the cell on the surface of the inner ling of the skin. At the advanced stage, the cancerous cells can travel a distance away from the skin to infect other healthy tissue and organ through blood and fluid circulation.


There are 3 main types of cells in the top layer of the skin (called the epidermis):
Squamous cells, Basal cells, and Melanocytes.


Long-term cumulative sun exposure is one of the major cause of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading cause of melanoma.


Certain risk factors that make some people susceptible to the development of skin cancer than others, include the increase in age, weakened immune system, gender, skin tone, genetic preposition, and family history.


Some researchers also suggested that the general knowledge about the protection of skin against the onset of skin cancer is lacking, therefore, more education in this field may be necessary before the prevalence of skin cancer can be reduced. 


Dr. Lee Wheless, the lead scientist in the concern of the association between skin characteristics and skin cancer prevention behaviors said, “Behaviors such as sunscreen use and wearing sun-protective clothing are thought to prevent certain types of skin cancer and precancerous lesions”. 


However, “The overall prevalence of prevention behaviors was low. Those with phenotypic risk factors for skin cancer were most likely to use sunscreen and sun-protective clothing. Those with high-risk skin cancer phenotypes may also be those who are most receptive to skin cancer prevention educational interventions”.


Polysulfides are phytochemicals in a class of chemical compounds containing chains of sulfur atoms, belonging to the group of Organosulfides found abundantly in the oxidized product, including beer, wine, whiskey, garlic oil, etc.

In the concern of incidence of skin cancer which increases at an alarming rate, researchers at the National Taiwan University evaluated the anti-skin cancer activity of sulfur metabolites in garlic oil.
Diallyl trisulfide (DATS), a member of polysulfides was found to be more potent than mono- and disulfides against skin cancer.


Injection of DATS inhibited cell growth of human melanoma A375 and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) cells by increasing the cytotoxicity of the reactive oxygen species (ROS).


Furthermore, DATS also induced apoptosis of skin cancer cells through inducing the DNA damage and through cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress associated with the cancer cells proliferation and survival, and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis.


These results indicated the importance of DATS in the prevention and treament of skin cancer by focusing on molecular mechanisms.


Furthermore, in the depth analysis of the effects of Diallyl sulfide (DAS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), and diallyl trisulfide (DATS), extracts from crushed garlic by steam-distillation against human melanoma A375 cells and basal cell carcinoma cells, researchers showed that DATS reveals better growth inhibition of A375 and BCC cells than DADS and DAS do.


Similar to the previous study, DATS increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the induction of cytotoxicity to the tested cancer cell lines.

The cell viability analysis reconfirmed the previous finding that DATS kills tested cancer cells in G(2)/M arrest.


Interestingly, DATS activated the p53 pathway in response to the oxidative DNA damage.
Where p53 is a protein associated with the regulation of the cell cycle and function as a tumor suppression.


Dr. Wang HC, the lead scientist wrote in the final report of the experiment, “DATS also displayed a selective target of growth inhibition between skin cancer cells and normal keratinocyte HaCaT cells”.


Taken altogether, Diallyl trisulfide (DATS)  a bioactive compound from garlic may be used for the prevention and treatment of skin cancer, pending to reconfirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.
(1) Molecular mechanisms of garlic-derived allyl sulfides in the inhibition of skin cancer progression by Wang HC1, Pao J, Lin SY, Sheen LY. (PubMed)
(2) Allyl sulfides inhibit cell growth of skin cancer cells through induction of DNA damage mediated G2/M arrest and apoptosis By Wang HC1, Yang JH, Hsieh SC, Sheen LY. (PubMed)
(3) Diallyl sulfide protects against ultraviolet B-induced skin cancers in SKH-1 hairless mouse: analysis of early molecular events in carcinogenesis by Cherng JM1, Tsai KD, Perng DS, Wang JS, Wei CC, Lin JC.(PubMed)
(4) The association between skin characteristics and skin cancer prevention behaviors by Lee Wheless,1 Ingo Ruczinski,3 Rhoda M. Alani,6,7 Sandra Clipp,4,10Judith Hoffman-Bolton,4,10 Timothy J. Jorgensen,4,11 Nanette J. Liégeois,6,8,9Paul T. Strickland,5 and Anthony J. Alberg. (PMC)

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