According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. One of the most common treatments for cervical cancer is radiation. Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells and also destroys nearby healthy cells. Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine’s in-vitro study of human cancer cells has shown that combining blueberry extract with radiation can improve the therapeutic effect.
“Radiotherapy uses high-energy X-rays and other particles, such as gamma rays, to destroy cancer cells,” said Dr. Yujiang Fang, visiting professor MU Medical College, the lead author of the study. “For some cancers, such as advanced cervical cancer, radiotherapy is a good treatment option, but collateral damage to healthy cells will always occur. Based on previous research, we studied blueberry extract to confirm that it can be used as a radiosensitizer.”
Radiosensitizers are non-toxic chemicals that make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy. In previous studies, Fang and his team showed that resveratrol is a compound in red grapes that can be used as a radiosensitizer for the treatment of prostate cancer. Blueberry also contains resveratrol.
“In addition to resveratrol, blueberries also contain flavonoids,” Mr. Fang said. He is also an academic pathologist and assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Des Moines University in Iowa. “Flavone compounds may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.”
The researchers used human cervical cancer cell lines to simulate clinical treatment. The cell lines were divided into four groups including a control group, a group that received only radiation, a group that received only blueberry extract, and a group that received radiation and an extract.
Fang said: “Our team used three different methods to confirm the findings. “Radiation reduced the cancer cells by about 20%. Interestingly, the cell group that received only the blueberry extract had a 25% reduction in cancer cells. The cells in the radiation and extraction groups had the greatest reduction, about 70%.”
Fang explained that the mechanisms that make blueberry extracts radiosensitizers also reduce the abnormal explosion of cell growth.
Fang said: “Cancer cells are remodeled to avoid death.” “With the reduction of cell proliferation, this extract will also “challenged” the death of cancer cells, so it will inhibit the birth of cancer cells and promote the death of cancer cells. ”
Fang said: “Blueberries are very common in all parts of the world. “They are easy to obtain and cheap. As a natural remedy for improving existing treatments, I feel they will be warmly received.” ”“Blueberry as a potential radiosensitizer to treat cervical cancer” was recently published in the Journal of Pathology and Oncology.