Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, peach extract could slow down the growth and spread of breast cancer.
Scientists working with mice discovered that a mixture of phenolic compounds found in peach extract inhibits breast cancer metastasis. The team said that the compounds could be a new addition to therapies to help reduce the risk of metastasis, which is the primary killer in breast and many other cancers.
“I would do three peaches a day,” Giuliana Noratto, Washington State University assistant professor of food science, said in a statement. “Having enough fruits and vegetables that can provide these compounds in our diet, we might have a similar preventive effect.”
For the study, the team implanted breast cancer cells beneath the skin of mice at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research laboratory. This technique is used to look at the growth of breast cancer cells in living animals, mimicking the interactions by which it forms and progresses.
The researchers fed the mice varying doses of peach polyhpenols after giving the cells about a week to establish. The compounds given to the mice help plants ward off the damaging effects of the sun’s UV radiation.
“There are several studies showing that these compounds act as antioxidants and can therefore protect DNA against damage that can produce cancer,” said Noratto. “We didn’t even think about metastasis at that time. The surprise was we analyzed lungs and beside the fact that the peach compounds inhibited the growth of the tumor, they also inhibited the metastasis levels on the lungs.”
After 12 days the researchers saw that mice fed with high levels of polyphenols had tumors that grew less and without much of the blood vessel formation that helps cancer spread. The tumors in the mice also had less evidence of enzymes involved in the spread of cancer.
“The importance of our findings are very relevant, because it shows in vivo the effect that natural compounds, in this case the phenolic compounds in peach, have against breast cancer and metastasis. It gives opportunity to include in the diet an additional tool to prevent and fight this terrible disease that affects so many people,” Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, a food scientist for AgriLife Research in College Station, said in a statement.
He said the researchers are enthusiastic about the idea that consuming just two to three peaches a day could obtain a similar effect in humans.
“However, this will have to be the next step in the study for its confirmation,” Cisneros-Zevallos said.