Diindolylmethane (DIM) may have anticancer effects, but this has not been studied in humans.
Diindolylmethane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. It showed anticancer effects in laboratory and animal studies. However, human studies are limited.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a metabolite of Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a compound found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. It is the most studied of all I3C metabolites and is thought to be superior to IC3 as a chemoprotective compound for breast cancer and prostate cancer (3). DIM demonstrated anti-proliferative effects in animal and cancer cell models through various mechanisms.
In contrast to I3C which has been used in over a dozen clinical trials, few studies have been published using DIM. In one study, daily supplementation with DIM led to changes in estrogen metabolism in post menopausal women with a history of early stage breast cancer (4); DIM supplementation, did not, however, have any effects in women with cervical cell abnormalities (13).
DIM’s effects have not been confirmed in cancer patients. Further studies are warranted.
Diindolylmethane (DIM), a metabolite of I3C, can induce apoptosis by modulating the expression of the Bax/Bcl-2. It demonstrated antiproliferative effects in animal and cancer cell models (1). It was also shown to inhibit invasion of normal tissue by cancer cells and to inhibit angiogenesis in cell culture models (5). Both DIM and I3C induce the activity of phase I and phase II enzymes involved in biotransformation and elimination of steroid hormones and carcinogens in vitro. Physiological concentrations of I3C and DIM induce cytochrome P450 enzymes in cancer cells in vitro. The increased CYP450 activity of these enzymes leads to increased metabolism of estrogen and degradation of estradiol needed for the growth of estrogen receptor-alpha positive cancer cells. DIM induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells (6)and enhances the effect of erlotinib (7). In colon cancer and prostate cancer cells, DIM inhibits CDK activities (8)(9) and induces apoptosis by down regulating survivin (10)(11). DIM supplementation alters estrogen urinary metabolite profiles in women (4) and it has androgen-antagonistic effect (14). It also inhibits prostate cancer cells proliferation and induces apoptosis through Akt activation, NF-KB DNA binding, and androgen receptor phosphorylation (15).