Grape seed extract goes after aggressive cancer cells
Tuesday, January 22, 2013. An article published online on December 22, 2012 in the journal Cancer Letters reveals a potent effect for grape seed extract against colorectal cancer in experiments involving cultured cancer cells. The findings indicate a beneficial effect for grape seed extract that increases with higher stage cancer.
Molly Derry of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora and her associates tested the effect of grape seed extract in colorectal cancer cell lines in various stages of disease. They observed an increase in several of grape seed extract's anticancer mechanisms in association with increasing cancer stage. The effect is in sharp contrast with that of chemotherapy, which becomes less potent in association with increased metastatic potential. No adverse effects from the compound occurred in healthy cells.
"We've known for quite a while that the bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells," stated Derry, who is a doctoral candidate in University of Colorado Cancer Center researcher Rajesh Agarwal, PhD's laboratory. "This study shows that many of the same mutations that allow colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and survive traditional therapies make them especially sensitive to treatment with grape seed extract."
"It required less than half the concentration of grape seed extract to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells," she remarked. "A colorectal cancer cell can have upwards of 11,000 genetic mutations – differences from the DNA in healthy cells. Traditional chemotherapies may only target a specific mutation and as cancer progresses more mutations occur. These changes can result in cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy. In contrast, the many bioactive compounds of grape seed extract are able to target multiple mutations. The more mutations a cancer presents, the more effective grape seed extract is in targeting them."
The discovery is of significance in view of the increased prevalence of colorectal cancer in Western societies, coupled with the fact that 60 percent of those diagnosed are at an advanced stage of cancer. "Finding a way to selectively target advanced colorectal cancer cells could have major clinical importance," Derry noted.
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