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Bitter Melon Extract Kills Breast Cancer Cells in Culture

Posted Feb 24 2010 6:53am
Bitter melon is an edible fruit with a very bitter flavor that is commonly used in Chinese cooking.  It has also been used in various Asian traditional medicine systems for a number of ailments.  New research from Saint Louis University suggests that an extract of bitter melon might have breast cancer fighting benefits.

In their breast cancer research study , investigators treated two types of human breast cancer cells, estrogen-receptor positive cells (MCF-7) and estrogen-receptor negative cells (MDA-MB-231), with a bitter melon extract to evaluate its potential as a cancer fighting agent.  Treatment of these breast cancer cells with the bitter melon extract resulted in
  • A decrease in breast cancer cell growth
  • An increase in programmed cell death of the breast cancer cells
  • Changes in aspects of breast cancer cell signaling pathways responsible for inhibition of breast cancer cell growth.
While bitter melon is probably a long way from being tested in human clinical trials, the results of this initial cell culture study are promising. The bitter melon extract evaluated in this study was shown to induce a chain of molecular events that resulted in the death of both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer cells.  Future studies in animal models and human trials will be needed to show both safety and effectiveness of bitter melon extracts.  There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that dietary changes might help reduce the breast cancer risk.  Depending upon future studies, bitter melon might turn out to be another food with cancer fighting benefits.

To learn about my top 10 foods to fight breast cancer, read Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at .
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