Resveratrol and cancer: focus on in vivo evidence

    1. Kevin J Pearson
    1. Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Wethington Building, Room 591, 900 South Limestone, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0200, USA
      1Department of Pediatrics, Graduate Center for Toxicology, Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0096, USA
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to K J Pearson; Email: kevin.pearson{at}


    Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenol that provides a number of anti-aging health benefits including improved metabolism, cardioprotection, and cancer prevention. Much of the work on resveratrol and cancer comes from in vitro studies looking at resveratrol actions on cancer cells and pathways. There are, however, comparatively fewer studies that have investigated resveratrol treatment and cancer outcomes in vivo, perhaps limited by its poor bioavailability when taken orally. Although research in cell culture has shown promising and positive effects of resveratrol, evidence from rodents and humans is inconsistent. This review highlights the in vivo effects of resveratrol treatment on breast, colorectal, liver, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Resveratrol supplementation in animal models of cancer has shown positive, neutral as well as negative outcomes depending on resveratrol route of administration, dose, tumor model, species, and other factors. Within a specific cancer type, there is variability between studies with respect to strain, age, and sex of animal used, timing and method of resveratrol supplementation, and dose of resveratrol used to study cancer endpoints. Together, the data suggest that many factors need to be considered before resveratrol can be used for human cancer prevention or therapy.

    • Revision received 3 February 2014
    • Accepted 5 February 2014
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 5 February 2014
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