12 January - 20 June 2016

Resveratrol and grape seed extract combine may protect against colon cancer

Scientists reporting in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine have tested the anti-cancer effects of combining resveratrol and grape seed extract using human colon cancer cells and using an induced mouse model of colon carcinogenesis.

Scientists reporting in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine have tested the anti-cancer effects of combining resveratrol and grape seed extract using human colon cancer cells and using an induced mouse model of colon carcinogenesis.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women in the United States. However it is often detected too late and is now the second most common cause of cancer related death in men and women combined. Environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle are a major cause, although previous case control studies have found that fruit consumption, due to bioactive compounds presents, was associated with a 13% decrease in colon cancer risk.  Resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes has been found to have anti-cancer properties, although it appears to be only effective at high concentrations of 75-100 µM.  The dietary supplement grape seed extract, rich in proanthocyanidins also has been reported to have anti colon cancer properties.  Again the researchers report that grape seed extract seems to be only effective at high concentration.

Vanamala et al. separated 52 mice with colon cancer tumours into three groups, including a control group and groups that were fed either resveratrol and grape seed extract combined (0.03 and 0.12 % w/w respectively) or sulindac (0.06 % w/w), an anti-inflammatory drug, which was chosen because a previous study showed it significantly reduced the number of tumours in humans.  The intervention lasted 4 weeks, with a few animals from each group being euthanised after 1 week of dietary intervention.  The colon was analysed for tumours and the number recorded for each animal. 

The researchers report that the incidence of tumours was suppressed in the mice consuming the resveratrol and grape seed extract alone by 50 percent, similar to the rate in the group consuming the diet with sulindac. Unlike the sulindac treatment group the resveratrol and grape seed extract group did not cause any gastrointestinal toxicity, which the team suggests indicates that the combined treatment specifically targets cancer cells.  

The researchers also used human cancer colon stem cells and treated them with doses of resveratrol at 9 µM combined with grape seed extract at 6.25, 12.5, and 25 µg/mL.  Sulindac was tested at 6.25, 12.5 and 25  µg/mL.  Vanamala et al. report that resveratrol and grape seed extract combined showed similar results to the use of sulindac, however the combined grape treatment also induced mitochondrial-mediated cell death in colon cancer stem cancer.  The grape treatment also did not alter the effectiveness of a tumour suppressor gene. 

Prof. Vanamala note that more work is needed to fully understand the anti-cancer mechanism behind grape compounds and other extracts in fruit and vegetables although they hope that their findings will lead the way for human trials that could test the effects of the grape compounds on colon cancer.

RSSL is happy to discuss with clients the analysis of phenolic components including procyanidins and resveratrol. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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