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Grape seed extract halts cell cycle, checking growth of colorectal tumors in mice

PHILADELPHIA − Chemicals found in grape seeds significantly inhibited growth of colorectal tumors in both cell cultures and in mice, according to researchers who have already demonstrated the extract's anti-cancer effects in other tumor types.

Their study, published in the October 18 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, documented a 44 percent reduction of advanced colorectal tumors in the animals, and also revealed, for the first time, the molecular mechanism by which grape seed extract works to inhibit cancer growth. The authors found that it increases availability of a critical protein, Cip1/p21, in tumors that effectively freezes the cell cycle, and often pushes a cancer cell to self destruct.

"With these results, we are not suggesting that people run out and buy and use grape seed extract. That could be dangerous since so little is known about doses and side effects," said Rajesh Agarwal, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

"The value of this preclinical study is that it shows grape seed extract can attack cancer, and how it works, but much more investigation will be needed before these chemicals can be tested as a human cancer treatment and preventive," he said.

The skin and seeds of grapes are a rich source of proanthocyanidins, a class of antioxidant flavonoids that remove harmful free oxygen radicals from cells. Grape products (juice and red wine) are known for their heart healthy effects, especially in lowering levels of blood cholesterol, Agarwal said, and because grape seeds contain higher concentrations of these chemicals, they are widely marketed as a dietary supplement.

Agarwal and his team of investigators were first to report, in 1999, that grape seed extract also has chemopreventive activity against skin cancer. Their subsequent preclinical work has shown that the extract also retards growth of prostate can
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Contact: Warren Froelich
froelich@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
18-Oct-2006


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