Synergistic anticancer effect of tocotrienol combined with chemotherapeutic agents or dietary components: A review

Takahiro Eitsuka, Naoto Tatewaki, Hiroshi Nishida, Kiyotaka Nakagawa, Teruo Miyazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Tocotrienol (T3), unsaturated vitamin E, is gaining a lot of attention owing to its potent anticancer effect, since its efficacy is much greater than that of tocopherol (Toc). Various factors are known to be involved in such antitumor action, including cell cycle arrest, apoptosis induction, antiangiogenesis, anti-metastasis, nuclear factor-κB suppression, and telomerase inhibition. Owing to a difference in the affinity of T3 and Toc for the α-tocopherol transfer protein, the bioavailability of orally ingested T3 is lower than that of Toc. Furthermore, cellular uptake of T3 is interrupted by coadministration of α-Toc in vitro and in vivo. Based on this, several studies are in progress to screen for molecules that can synergize with T3 in order to augment its potency. Combinations of T3 with chemotherapeutic drugs (e.g., statins, celecoxib, and gefitinib) or dietary components (e.g., polyphenols, sesamin, and ferulic acid) exhibit synergistic actions on cancer cell growth and signaling pathways. In this review, we summarize the current status of synergistic effects of T3 and an array of agents on cancer cells, and discuss their molecular mechanisms of action. These combination strategies would encourage further investigation and application in cancer prevention and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1605
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct


  • Cancer
  • Synergy
  • Tocotrienol
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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