Blueberry extract can boost therapy in cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australian women.
One of the most common treatments for cervical cancer is radiation therapy which destroys the cancer cells but comes with a lot of unwanted side effects.
While radiation therapy destroys cancer cells, it also destroys nearby healthy cells, making it a challenge to deliver effective results.
The biggest decline was seen at 70 percent in the cell group which received both radiation and blueberry extract.
The answer to this problem lies in a compound found in one of the most commonly consumed berries in the world – blueberries.
Previous research has shown that a compound found in red grapes known as resveratrol and can be used as a radiosensitiser for prostate cancer.
Radiosensitisers are non-toxic chemicals that make cancer cells more responsive to radiation therapy.
The blueberry extract also contains resveratrol. Additionally, blueberries also contain flavonoids which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
To test these properties of blueberries on radiation therapy, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine, used in-vitro human cervical cancer cells to mimic clinical treatment. The cell lines were divided into four groups which included a control group, a group that received only radiation, a group which received only blueberry extract and the last group received both radiation and the extract.
Using different measures to study the effects of this experiment, the researchers found that radiation decreased cancer cells by approximately 20 percent.
However, the group that received only blueberry extract showed a 25 percent decrease in cancer. The biggest decline was seen at 70 percent in the cell group which received both radiation and blueberry extract.
The researchers explain that the same mechanism which makes blueberry extract a radiosensitiser also reduces the abnormal explosion of cancer cells growth.
Cancer cells avoid death by remodelling themselves making cancer a tough disease to cure.
The blueberry extract tricks the cancer cells into dying thus preventing them from growing and spreading.
The researchers plan on further animal studies to confirm these findings.
Blueberry is commonly found in many countries – readily available, inexpensive and a natural alternative which can boost the effectiveness of existing radiations therapies for cervical cancer.
Source: Pathology & Oncology Research
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