Tocopherols are a class of organic chemical compounds (more precisely, various methylated phenols), many of which have vitamin E activity. Tocotrienols, which are related compounds, also have vitamin E activity. All of these various derivatives with vitamin activity may correctly be referred to as "vitamin E". Tocopherols and tocotrienols are fat-soluble antioxidants but also seem to have many other functions in the body. Tocopherols exist in four forms designated as α, β, δ and γ. Due to their strong antioxidant properties, tocopherols have been suggested to reduce the risk of cancer. Cancer prevention studies with tocopherols have mostly utilized α-tocopherol. Large scale clinical trials with α-tocopherol provided inconsistent results regarding the cancer preventive activities of tocopherols. This review summarizes our current understanding of the anti-cancer activities of different forms of tocopherols based on follow up of the clinical trials, recent epidemiological evidences and experimental studies using in vitro and in vivo models. The experimental data provide strong evidence in support of the anti-cancer activities of δ-tocopherol,γ-tocopherol and the natural tocopherol mixture rich in γ-tocopherol, γ-TmT, over α-tocopherol. Such outcomes emphasize the need for detailed investigation into the cancer preventive activities of different forms of tocopherols to provide a strong rationale for intervention studies in the future.    

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