The International journal of biochemistry

Chemoprevention of cancer: phenolic antioxidants (BHT, BHA).

PMID 3053283


1. The synthetic phenolic antioxidants (e.g. BHT, BHA) added to human and animal food are able to lengthen the life of organisms and lower the incidence of cancer caused by chemical compounds. 2. On the other hand they may not be rendered completely harmless since they can cause lung damage (BHT) or promote the action of some carcinogens (BHA). 3. They could act as compounds preventing cancer either via interception of harmful free radicals, activating the detoxifying enzymes of the body, inhibiting the formation of ultimately carcinogenic metabolites and their binding to DNA, and modifying the immune response of the organism. 4. Their action is influenced by their own chemical structure, the composition of carcinogen, the strain, sex and age of experimental animals, the tissue upon which they are supposed to act and the time of their administration in relation to the time of the carcinogen insult. 5. These compounds are concentrated in adipose tissue, liver and kidney. They are excreted within tens of hours mainly in urine. 6. The acceptable daily intake of BHA is at present considered to be 0.6 mg kg-1 body wt day-1. In spite of their possible tumor-promoting properties they could not be considered overtly toxic. Their pronounced chemoprotective role against some forms of chemical carcinogenesis deserves considerable attention.

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