Resveratrol and Breast Cancer, Important Discovery
If you remember reading about research showing how resveratrol might help in the fight against breast cancer, results of a new study present a different story. Before you take a resveratrol supplement or pour that glass of red wine, you might want to consider an important discovery just published in BioMed Central.
Does resveratrol lead a double life?
Resveratrol is a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) found in foods such as red grapes, red wine, onions, apples, and tea, and numerous studies have suggested it has various health benefits. Among those benefits are help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions, as well as anti-aging properties and possible help with type 2 diabetes.
Although all of these conditions are of interest, the latest study concerns the role of resveratrol in cancer, and specifically breast cancer. Previous studies have suggested that resveratrol may have a role in fighting breast cancer.
Some of those studies will be covered in a moment. For now, let’s look at the most recent study, which suggests that resveratrol promotes the growth and spread of breast cancer.
Immunocompromised mice were used in the new study, which involved administering various concentrations of resveratrol (0.5, 5.0 and 50 mg/kg of body weight) to the animals. The researchers found that all the concentrations of resveratrol promoted the growth and spread of breast cancer from a variety of cell lines.
Based on their findings, the authors noted that “resveratrol, depending on the dose, can induce growth and metastasis [spread] or breast cancers.” They recommended that before resveratrol is recommended as a dietary supplement or used in clinical trials, its impact should be better understood.
The authors also indicated that their findings “serve to caution patients or physicians in the use of this grape polyphenol as an alternative and/or complementary medicine for breast cancer treatment.”
Other studies of resveratrol
Now for the other side of the story. Numerous studies in animals have indicated that resveratrol may inhibit breast cancer. For example, a joint Italian and American study from 2011 reported that resveratrol can stop the growth of breast cancer cells by interrupting the effects of estrogen.
In a subsequent study, researchers concluded that resveratrol inhibits the spread of cancer both in the laboratory and in mice, and that this benefit is probably due to a decrease in specific activity caused by resveratrol.
So, does resveratrol lead a double life? Is it both good and bad for breast cancer?
The latest findings regarding resveratrol and breast cancer suggest the jury is still out on the benefits and risks of this grape derivative, at least when it comes to breast cancer.
Castillo-Pichardo L et al. Dietary grape polyphenol resveratrol increases mammary tumor growth and metastasis in immunocompromised mice. Biomed Central 2013; 13(6)
Lee HS et al. Effect of resveratrol on the metastasis of 4T1 mouse breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Nutrition Research and Practice 2012 Aug; 6(4): 294-300