Flavonoids have been regarded as nutritionally good compounds. Lot of research is being done in this direction.
Apigenin, a flavonoid found in herbs, fruits, and vegetables, slowed the growth of prostate cancer in mice, according to a new study.
Previous studies already found flavonoids (found in fruits and vegetables) had a potential to protect against a number of cancers.
The current study was intended to investigate the preventive and therapeutic effects of apigenin on prostate cancer.
In the study, apigenin was fed to two groups of mice. For one group, the feeding of apigenin started two weeks before prostate cancer was implanted in the mice. For another group, apigenin was fed two weeks after the prostate cancer was implanted.
In both groups, researchers observed that apigenin slowed the growth of prostate cancer, indicating that apigenin possesses both preventive and therapeutic effects on prostate cancer.
Better yet, apigenin did not show any adverse effects such as weight change, which is common in cancer patients who receive chemotherapy.
The researchers did not understand the mechanism for the anticancer properties. They did find that apigenin decreased the levels of IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor, which had been associated with a higher risk of breast, prostate, colorectal and lung cancers. This indicated that apigenin may have an effect on these cancers as well.
In addition, the researchers found apigenin significantly increased levels of IGFBP-3 (insulin-like growth factor binding protein), which had been associated with a decreased risk of the same cancers.
Apigenin induced cancer cell death, according to the study. Previous studies revealed apigenin reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Apigenin is found in a range of fruits and vegetables including apples, beans, broccoli, cherries, grapes, leeks, onions, parsley, celery and tomatoes. Apigenin is also found in tea and wine.
Dr Sanjay Gupta and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University conducted the research study.
(Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal)