Monday, September 16, 2013

Flavonoids Foil Cancer Cells

Flavonoids foil cancer cells
Celery, artichokes, and herbs, especially Mexican oregano, all contain apigenin and luteolin, flavonoids that kill human pancreatic cancer cells.
“Apigenin alone induced cell death in two aggressive human pancreatic cancer cell lines. But we received the best results when we pre-treated cancer cells with apigenin for 24 hours, then applied the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine for 36 hours,” said Professor Elvira de Mejia, lead author of the study, which was published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
Pre-treatment the trick
The trick seemed to be using the flavonoids as a pre-treatment instead of applying them and the chemotherapeutic drug simultaneously. “Even though the topic is still controversial, our study indicated that taking antioxidant supplements on the same day as chemotherapeutic drugs may negate the effect of those drugs,” say researchers. “That happens because flavonoids act as antioxidants: one way that chemotherapeutic drugs kill cells is their pro-oxidant activity, meaning that flavonoids and drugs may compete with each other if introduced at the same time.”
The scientists found that apigenin inhibited an enzyme called GSK-3β, which led to a decrease in production of anti-apoptotic genes in the pancreatic cancer cells. (Apoptosis means that the cancer cell self-destructs because its DNA has been damaged.) In one cancer cell line, the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis went from 8.4 percent in cells not been treated with the flavonoid to 43.8 percent in cells that had been treated. In this case, no chemotherapy drug had been added.
Pancreatic cancer patients would probably not be able to eat enough flavonoid-rich foods to raise blood plasma levels of the flavonoid to an effective level. But scientists could design drugs that would achieve those concentrations. And prevention of this frightening disease is another story. “If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables throughout your life, you’ll have chronic exposure to these bioactive flavonoids, which would certainly help to reduce the risk of cancer,” they noted.

Source : Nature and Health


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