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Strawberries slow growth of breast cancer – in the laboratory, at least

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So far, an extract from the fruit has worked in the laboratory on cancer cells and in laboratory mice, but the researchers don’t yet know if the same effects will be seen in cancer patients.

Researchers from the Marche Polytechnic University in Italy used an extract from the Alba variety of strawberry, which is rich in phenolic compounds, on the most aggressive and invasive breast cancer cells.

It stopped the growth of the cells for up to 72 hours, the researchers say, and it also stimulated a gene that suppresses the spread to the lymphatic system, which can lead to the cancer developing in other parts of the body.

Not only was the spread of the cancer halted, the weight and volume of tumors was also “significantly reduced”, the researchers said.

But they sound a note of warning: they can’t be sure it would work in cancer patients. People are complex, as are cancers, and the concentration of the phenolic compounds – thought to be the active part in the fruit – varies from variety to variety.

Nonetheless, eating a healthy diet, that includes plenty of strawberries, is something every cancer patient should do, they say.

(Source: Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: doi: 10.1038/srep30917)

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Article Topics: breast cancer, Cancer, oncology
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