Novel Indole-3-Carbinol-Derived Antitumor Agents

An anti-tumor agent developed from indol-3-carbinol, a naturally occurring phytochemical in cruciferous vegetables.

The Need

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US at approximately 600,000 deaths per year. In addition, the National Cancer Institute estimates that nearly 1.7 million cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. A report from U.S. News in 2015 found that cancer drugs cost approximately $10,000 per month, with some drugs as high as $30,000 per month. As the incidence of cancer diagnoses and cost of treatment both increase, there is a need to develop better, cost-efficient treatments for the disease.

The Technology

Researchers at the Ohio State University, led by Dr. Ching-Shih Chen, developed anti-tumor agents from indole-3-carbinol with high chemical stability and apoptosis-inducing potency that improve upon previous therapies. The optimal agent, OSU-A9M, suppresses PC-3 prostate cancer cell viability and tumor growth. This agent targets many signaling pathways pertinent to cell cycle regulation and survival and displays a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities which suggests clinical value in cancer therapy.

Commercial Applications

  • Biologic cancer treatment
  • Therapeutics
  • Pharmaceuticals


  • Analogues with higher stabilities and higher apoptosis-inducing potency than parent compound (indole-3-carbinol)
  • Exhibits higher potency in suppressing PC-3 prostate cancer cell viability and tumor growth
  • Displays broad spectrum of pharmacological activities while showing targeted therapeutic activities towards cancer cells
  • Lead compound (OSU-A9M) has an IC-50 of 0.5-1.5 uM

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