Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

Adv Clin Exp Med
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Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

2016, vol. 25, nr 3, May-June, p. 561–568

doi: 10.17219/acem/33847

Publication type: review article

Language: English

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Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 Open Access

B-Group Vitamins: Chemoprevention?

Beata M. Gruber1,A,B,C,D,E,F

1 Department of Biochemistry and Biopharmaceuticals, The National Medicines Institute, Warszawa, Poland


The importance of vitamins in the prevention of cancer has attracted the attention of consumers, nutritionists and scientists for decades. The mechanisms of carcinogenesis, extended in the context of the function of vitamins, i.e. regulation of and participation in metabolic processes in the cell, suggest a substantial impact of these compounds on the initial stages of carcinogenesis. One-carbon metabolism involving folic acid, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, and folate metabolism doesn’t only generate methyl groups, thus determining epigenetic processes, modifications of the genome and carcinogenesis. It also provides the compounds involved in the DNA synthesis and repair processes, especially the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines and the conversion of dUMP (2-deoxyuridine monophosphate) to dTMP (2-deoxythymidine monophosphate). In light of these pathways, folate, together with vitamins B2, B6 and B12, became a subject of interest as compounds whose deficit or surplus can potentially have an impact on the processes of carcinogenesis. Literature reports, however, do not fully confirm that the influence on the synthesis of nucleotides is connected with the inhibition of carcinogenesis. The impact of individual vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism on carcinogenesis and their role in the prevention of these conditions depend on the type of cancer and the dose administered. Nevertheless, the research conducted makes it possible to conclude a considerable and probably long-underestimated role of these compounds in the prevention of serious, difficult to treat or incurable diseases.

Key words

group-B vitamins, one-carbon metabolism, folic acid

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