Mango May Help Prevent Breast, Colon Cancers


Although the mango does not have the high levels of antioxidants found in other fruits, including acai, blueberry, and pomegranate, a new study finds that the tropical fruit has the ability to prevent or stop breast and colon cancer cells in a laboratory.

Mangoes are a good source of two important antioxidants—vitamins A and C—and also contains 18 other vitamins and minerals, according to the National Mango Board. The study’s authors were interested in the fruit’s polyphenols, which are natural substances found in plants that are associated with promoting good health.


In this new study, which was conducted at Texas AgriLife Research, food scientists Dr. Susanne Talcott and Dr. Steve Talcott tested mango polyphenol extracts on colon, breast, lung, leukemia, and prostate cancer cells. Although the mango extract was somewhat effective against lung, leukemia, and prostate cancers, it was most impressive against breast and colon cancer cells, triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death of the cancer cells).

More specifically, they found that gallotannins were the compounds that were active against the cancer cells. Tannins are a type of polyphenols that are found in tea, wine, and grape seed, as well as mango. The Talcotts also found that the mango polyphenolics did not damage normal colon cells when they tested normal colon cells and colon cancer cells side by side.

The Talcotts want to conduct a clinical trial with the mango extract and include individuals who have increased inflammation in their intestines with a higher risk for colon cancer. Depending on the results of such a trial, they would then like to perform a larger study to determine if there is any clinical relevance in using mango extract in the fight against breast, colon, and other cancers.

AgriLife News release, Jan. 11, 2010
National Mango Board