Resveratrol May Reduce Cancer Risk and Cancer Cell Growth
January 6, 2013 by Robert Wascher
Filed under A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Cancer, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Diet, Nutrition, Prostate Cancer Risk, Resveratrol, Supplements, Weekly Health Update, cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, diet, health, heart disease, polyphenols, prostate cancer
A new study suggests that resveratrol may reduce cancer risk and cancer progression.
RESVERATROL MAY REDUCE CANCER RISK AND CANCER CELL GROWTH
As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, resveratrol, a plant-derived phenol, has been found, in laboratory studies, to potentially reduce the risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, and may increase longevity as well (at least in laboratory animals…).
Resveratrol’s anti-cancer effects have been observed in multiple laboratory studies using cancer cells grown in culture and in laboratory animals. (Unfortunately, there is very little clinical data available regarding the effects of resveratrol in humans.) However, the precise mechanisms whereby resveratrol may inhibit the development and growth of cancer cells remain unclear at this time. Now, a newly published study, which appears in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, sheds some important scientific light on at least one mechanism whereby resveratrol may inhibit cancer cell development and growth.
In this two-part laboratory study, resveratrol was found to increase the production of the enzyme SIRT1, which appears to play an important role in suppressing cancer cell growth and survival.
In the first part of this study, human prostate cancer cells were exposed to resveratrol, which resulted in an increase in the production of SIRT1, and an associated decrease in tumor cell growth and survival.
In the second part of this study, a strain of mice predisposed to developing prostate cancer had their food supplemented with resveratrol. When compared to similar mice that did not receive resveratrol supplements, exposure to dietary resveratrol resulted in a significant decrease in prostate gland size, and, more importantly, a significant reduction (54%) in precancerous changes (high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, or HGPIN) within the prostate gland. When the prostate glands of the resveratrol-supplemented mice were tested, increased levels of the SIRT1 enzyme were also confirmed.
This study showed that resveratrol increases SIRT1 levels, which may, in turn, reduce the development of precancerous changes that can lead to the development of prostate cancer (and, potentially, other types of cancer as well). This study also showed that resveratrol may also be able to reduce the growth and survival of human prostate cancer cells.
There are a couple of very important caveats to mention with regards to this study. First of all, as I have repeatedly noted before, what works on cancer cells growing in a laboratory dish, or in genetically altered laboratory animals, often fails to work on human beings. Secondly, there is no long-term clinical data looking at the effects (either good or bad) of resveratrol supplementation in humans. Finally, resveratrol is poorly absorbed in humans, and relatively high (and frequent) oral intake of this compound is required to achieve blood levels comparable to those concentrations used in most laboratory studies. Fortunately, at this time there are approximately a dozen human research studies underway that are assessing the impact of resveratrol supplementation on cancer risk and cancer-associated survival. Hopefully, some of these ongoing clinical studies will shed additional important scientific light on the potential of resveratrol to prevent and treat cancer in humans, although the findings of these studies are still years away.
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Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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