There is increasing evidence of how ITCs in wasabi act against cancer cells. Isothiocyanates inhibit enzymes that cause compounds against carcinogenesis to turn into carcinogenic (phase I enzymes). It was also shown that 6-MITC blocks the cell cycle of cancer cells (Hashimoto, 2004) and affects the production of protein in cancer cells (Hou, 2000).
Metastasis, a critical stage of cancer spread beyond the local location, can be blocked by the ITC, in particular 6-MITC. Fuke and her colleagues (1997, 2000, 2006) and Manesh and Kuttan (2003) showed that 6-MITC in wasabi suppressed the dissemination of certain cancer cells.
In many cases it was found that ITC from wasabi causes apoptosis or death of cancer cells. This was demonstrated in leukemic cells (Nakamura, 2001, Fimognari, 2004), breast cancer cells (Nomura, 2005), lung cancer (Kuang and Chen, 2004), colorectal cancer (Lund, 2001) and cancer cells of other types (Watanabe, 2003, Fimognari, 2005).
An important point is that ITCs are effective against cancer cells, but they do not harm healthy cells. No side effects found!
Musk et al. (1993, 1995) showed that allyl isothiocyanates (AITC), other ITCs, were selectively toxic to cancer cells of the large intestine. Nakamura et al. (2001) found in the case of leukemia that ITC with wasabi inhibited the growth of eukemic cells, but did not inhibit normal cells.
In September 2014, other studies have shown and reported that the unique 6-MITC active ingredient in wasabi killed lung cancer cells. The report was published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The authors admitted that the unique natural chemical found only in real, fresh wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is biologically important to human health and kills lung cancer cells.