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Red Wine May Boost Breast Cancer Drug

Wednesday, 16 Feb 2011 08:27 AM


Can a glass of red wine help fight breast cancer? Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute have found this could be the case.

Scientists say they have discovered that resveratrol — a compound found in red wine — when combined with the drug rapamycin, can have a tumor-suppressing effect on breast cancer cells that are resistant to rapamycin alone, according to a statement from Cleveland Clinic.

While more research is needed, Cleveland Clinic scientists say their observations suggest resveratrol may be a powerful integrative medicine adjunct to traditional chemotherapy.

"If these observations hold true in the clinic setting, then enjoying a glass of red wine or eating a bowl of boiled peanuts — which has a higher resveratrol content than red wine — before rapamycin treatment for cancer might be a prudent approach,” Dr. Charis Eng, Ph.D., chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and the study's lead researcher, said in the statement.

The research also indicates that the PTEN tumor-suppressing gene contributes to resveratrol’s anti-tumor effects in this treatment combination. The work recently was published in Cancer Letters.

“Rapamycin has been used in clinical trials as a cancer treatment," Eng said. "Unfortunately, after a while, the cancer cells develop resistance to rapamycin. Our findings show that resveratrol seems to mitigate rapamycin-induced drug resistance in breast cancers, at least in the laboratory."

Eng led her team to study the effect of combining resveratrol, a chemopreventive drug found in many natural compounds, with rapamycin on breast cancer cells. The research demonstrates an additive effect between these two drugs on breast cancer cell signaling and growth, according to the clinic.

Rapamycin, an immunosuppressant drug used to prevent rejection in organ transplantation, has been considered for the use of anti-tumor activity against breast cancer. Resveratrol, a type of polyphenol found in the skin of red grapes, has been considered for multiple uses regarding cellular therapies.

Despite the potential for tumor suppression, rapamycin’s efficacy with respect to growth inhibition differs markedly among various breast cancer cell lines, the clinic noted. The effect of resveratrol and rapamycin, alone and in combination, on cell growth of three human breast cancer cell lines was assessed.
Rapamycin, resveratrol, and combinations of these agents inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. In all three cell lines tested, the presence of low concentrations of resveratrol and rapamycin was sufficient to induce 50 percent growth inhibition.



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