Resveratrol Blocks Breast Cancer Progression In Culture
Posted Jun 27 2011 11:39am
Breast cancer progression and metastasis requires a change in breast tissue cells from a normal epithelial form to a mesenchymal, connective tissue-like form. A number of factors are involved in this mesenchymal transition and various growth factors have been implicated in this key step of breast cancer progression. Therefore, finding ways to block the mesenchymal transition and prevent the growth and metastasis of breast cancer is an important area of research.
New breast cancer research suggests that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in red grapes, might be able to block growth factor-induced breast cancer progression. For this cell culture study, investigators cultured MCF-7 breast cancer cells and treated them with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and treated them with EGF + resveratrol. Treatment of MCF-7 breast cancer cells with EGF caused the breast cancer cells to change their physical appearance similar to what is seen during the mesenchymal transition. Additionally, mesenchymal markers increased in these cells after EGF treatment and the cells developed the ability to migrate, confirming the ability of this growth factor to promote breast cancer progression.
Co-treatment of breast cancer cells with EGF + resveratrol blocked the effect of EGF on breast cancer cells. Resveratrol treatment prevented the breast cancer cells from undergoing the mesenchymal transition and blocked the ability of the breast cancer cells to migrate after EGF treatment. These beneficial effects of resveratrol were mediated by its ability to block the EGF activation of a specific cellular pathway called ERK 1/2.
This is an interesting study that adds to the growing amount of evidence for the health benefits of resveratrol. While resveratrol has developed a well-deserved reputation as a phytonutrient with health benefits, most of these benefits to date have been related to heart health. However, this study and other emerging evidence suggest that resveratrol has breast cancer fighting properties as well. While more research will need to be done to see if these cell culture studies translate to benefits in people, the early evidence is promising. Red grapes, red grape juice, peanuts, and some berries are good sources of resveratrol , so adding resveratrol to your diet is not only easy, but healthy.