Grape compounds suppress colon cancer

Grape compounds suppress colon cancer

Two well known grape compounds, resveratrol (from the skins) and grape seed extract, when used in combination, reduced the size of colon tumours in mice by 50% and killed cancer stem cells.

Taking a bunch of grapes to someone who is ill in hospital may be a really sensible present afterall. Grapes naturally contain two important compounds: The skins contain resveratrol, a compound that prevents bugs attacking the grape sugar; and grape seeds, from which grape seed extract, the high street’s top antioxidant, is produced. Many people believe the health benefit in red wine stems from fermenting the wine in a stew with the skins and seeds present.

As long ago as 2006, researchers from the University of Colorado showed that Colon cancer tumours grew slower in mice if they had been given grape seed extract (1).

A review of the benefits of resveratrol in colon cancer demonstrated that it was anti-inflammatory, inhibited oxidative stress and could bring about apoptosis of Colorectal Cancer (CRC) cells (2).

In 2010 Resveratrol was shown by researchers in the University of South Carolina to suppress colitis and colon cancer that was associated with colitis (3).

In 2017, researchers from Hershey Cancer Institute at Penn State put the two grape compounds together and looked for heightened efficacy in colon cancer.

In the study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Associate Professor Jairam K.P. Vanamala and other researchers looked at the properties of RSV and GSE in combination both with human cancer stem cells in vitro, and on colon cancer in induced mice. The two compounds combined had a significant effect on the cancer stem cells, but the in vivo study was even more interesting.

The mice were divided into 3 groups – the controls, those fed the combination compounds and a third that were given the anti-inflammatory drug, Sulindac.
The combination of resveratrol and grape seed extract is very effective at killing colon cancer cells. In vitro it was seen to cause apoptosis; in the mouse model it cut tumours by over 50 per cent. The researchers also learned the combination of these compounds was not toxic to healthy cells.
The researchers felt that the combined effect may demonstrate why populations who eat a plant based diet develop less colon cancer.

Go to: Resveratrol inhibits breast cancer stem cell renewal



  1. Med Carcinology; 2010; July 49(7); 641-52; Velmurugan et al.
  2. Mohadese Honari et al; 2019; 180; Cancer Cell International
  3. Cancer Prev Res, 2010 April; Xiangli Cui et al
  4. Medical Xpress, Pennsylvania State, June 19, 2017.


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