Cancer Killing Foods and Substances
By: David W. Andrew
(Condensed Version at Bottom of Page)
There are many websites that talk about the connection between diet and cancer and they often mention studies done on the topic but they do not list where you can read these studies for yourself. With a topic as important as this one I would never ask anyone to just, “take my word for it” regarding the scientific research I have come across. I urge you to please take the time to follow the links on this page and read the scientific research for yourself. Remember knowledge is power so, arm yourself and be informed!
The foods and other substances listed below are ones that have had the most extensive research done on them that I could find. The foods and substances listed here are also easy to obtain for most people. Remember when eating fruits and vegetables’ ingesting them in their raw form is best. In many cases cooking actually decreases the effectiveness of many of the anti cancer compounds in these foods. A great way to get concentrated amounts of these cancer fighting substances in your diet is by making your own fresh juice from fruits and vegetables. Often it is the chewing action or cutting of these foods during preparation that activates and releases the anti cancer compounds.
Many of the anti-cancer compounds found in vegetables have a synergistic* effect when combined with other compounds so eating or juicing a variety of the vegetables listed at the same time is highly recommended.
* (syn•er•gy Noun: The interaction or cooperation of two or more, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.)
Be aware that having more of these foods in your diet that contain cancer fighting compounds is only part of the means to reduce your chances of getting cancer. The other part necessary is to try to lessen the amount of foods and substances you ingest that have been associated with a higher risk of getting cancer. These can include fatty foods, especially from animal sources. Beef and pork. Foods high in refined sugar. Processed foods that contain Sodium nitrite (and nitrates).
In my investigations I came across an important word that I would like to share. That word is apoptosis and it means: Programmed cell death; deletion of individual cells by fragmentation into membrane-bound particles, which are phagocytized by other cells. Many of the substances listed on this page induce cancer cell apoptosis while leaving healthy cells intact. I urge you to remember the word apoptosis and what it means as you read further and, notice how many of these studies contain this word.
Natural Anti-Cancer Substances:
Sulforaphane – is an organosulfur compound that is obtained from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and watercress.
Researchers have shown in the laboratory that, the phytochemical sulforaphane selectively kills cancer cells of various types including skin, cervical, prostate, colon, breast, pancreas, and liver cancers.
Sulforaphane induces cell type-specific apoptosis in human breast cancer cell lines. (The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17339367 Sulforaphane inhibits human MCF-7 mammary cancer cell mitotic progression and tubulin polymerization. (Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333709
Induction of apoptosis by sulforaphane in highly metastatic B16F-10 melanoma cells. (Department of Immunology, Amala Cancer Research Centre, Thrissur, India.)
Anti-carcinogenic effects of sulforaphane in association with its apoptosis-inducing and anti-inflammatory properties in human cervical cancer cells. (Department of Biotechnology, Manipal University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20956097
Sulforaphane increases drug-mediated cytotoxicity toward cancer stem-like cells of pancreas and prostate. (Molecular OncoSurgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.)
Indole-3-carbinol - (I3C) is derived from the hydrolysis (breakdown) of glucobrassicin, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables. I3C has shown anti-cancer properties in laboratory studies.
Indole-3-carbinol disrupts estrogen receptor-alpha dependent expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and insulin receptor substrate-1 and proliferation of human breast cancer cells.
(Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, The Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA)
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) induced cell growth inhibition, G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. (Department of Pathology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, MI, USA.)
Molecular targets and anticancer potential of indole-3-carbinol and its derivatives. (Department of Experimental Therapeutics, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16082211 Indole-3-carbinol induces apoptosis through p53 and activation of caspase-8 pathway in lung cancer A549 cells. (Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, BMIC, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20060030
Carotenoids – various carotenoids have shown anti cancer properties in laboratory studies. Food sources of carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, and tomato’s.
Anticarcinogenic effect of common carotenoids. (Vitamin Research Department, VFEH, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, Switzerland. )
Prospective study of carotenoids, tocopherols, and retinoid concentrations and the risk of breast cancer. (Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12010859 Lycopene induces cell growth inhibition by altering mevalonate pathway and Ras signaling in cancer cell lines. (Institute of General Pathology, Catholic University School of Medicine, L. Go F. Vito, 00168 Rome, Italy.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20699249
Organosulfur compounds from Allium genus vegetables - Members of the allium genus include onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic and chives. Several compounds found in the allium genus of vegetables have been shown to have anti cancer and cancer killing properties.
Garlic constituent diallyl trisulfide induced apoptosis in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. (Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.)
Consumption of Large Amounts of Allium Vegetables Reduces Risk for Gastric Cancer in a Meta-analysis. (Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21473867 Dietary quercetin inhibits proliferation of lung carcinoma cells. (Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Division of Cellular and Molecular Research, National Cancer Centre, Singapore, Singapore.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17684411
Diallylpolysulfides induce growth arrest and apoptosis.(Medizinische Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität des Saarlandes, Homburg, Germany.)
Apigenin – Apigenin has been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit protein expression in cancer cells. Ohio State University researchers found that apigenin, could stop breast cancer cells from inhibiting their own death. This compound has had a positive affect against cancers of the head and neck, pancreatic cancer cells, prostate cancer, melanoma, and colon cancer. Parsley, celery and chamomile tea are the most common sources of apigenin but, it is also found in many fruits and vegetables.
Anticancer mechanism of apigenin and the implications of GLUT-1 expression in head and neck cancers.
(Department of Otolaryngology, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79 Qingchun Road, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, 310003, China.)
Apigenin impairs oral squamous cell carcinoma growth in vitro inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
(Department of Surgery and Translational Medicine, University of Milan-Bicocca, I-20900 Monza, Italy.)
Flavonoid apigenin modified gene expression associated with inflammation and cancer and induced apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells through inhibition of GSK-3β/NF-κB signaling cascade.
(Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA.)
Apigenin induces apoptosis via extrinsic pathway, inducing p53 and inhibiting STAT3 and NFκB signaling in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells.
(Laboratory of Clinical Biology and Pharmacogenomics and Center for Clinical Research and Genomics, Institute of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.)
Berries – There are many fruits that contain cancer fighting compounds but I chose to list the berry variety of fruits because they have had more research done on them and the cancer fighting compounds they contain.
Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. (Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.)
Red raspberries have antioxidant effects that play a minor role in the killing of stomach and colon cancer cells. (Department of Nursing, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA.)
Blueberry phytochemicals inhibit growth and metastatic potential of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells through modulation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway. (Division of Tumor Cell Biology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California, USA.)
Blueberry anthocyanins and pyruvic acid adducts: anticancer properties in breast cancer cell lines. (Department of Biochemistry (U38-FCT), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20564502 Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation in vitro by fruit and berry extracts and correlations with antioxidant levels. (Department of Crop Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15563205
Green Tea - Polyphenols
Two substances, epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC) are close molecular cousins to other flavonoids found in broccoli, cabbage, grapes and red wine that are known to help prevent cancer. The natural polyphenol in green tea known as ECGC has been shown to be particularly effective in lowering risk of a host of cancer cell lines including prostate, colon, esophagus, bladder and pancreas.
Interestingly, at least one study has shown that the catechin in green tea combined with curcumin has a strong synergistic effect that increases the cancer fighting ability of both substances dramatically:
Inhibition of tumour invasion and angiogenesis by epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a major component of green tea. (Chonnam University Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonnam National University Medical School, Kwangju, Korea.)
Green tea polyphenol and epigallocatechin gallate induce apoptosis and inhibit invasion in human breast cancer cells. (Department of Pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18059161
Tea antioxidants in cancer chemoprevention. (Department of Dermatology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.)
Green Tea-Overview: (University of Maryland medical Center)
Curcumin/Turmeric - Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. In vitro and animal studies have suggested curcumin may have antitumor, antioxidant, antiarthritic, antiamyloid, anti-ischemic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Regularly ingesting around 4,000 milligrams a day is the amount needed to make turmeric detectable in the bloodstream. At this level is where turmeric starts to exhibit it’s anti-cancer effects. Curcumin is known to have very low bioavailability which means the active cancer fighting components of curcumin do not stay active in the body for a long time. Experiments trying to improve the bioavailibility of curcumin is being undertaken at several research fascilities.
The curry spice curcumin selectively inhibits cancer cells growth in vitro and in preclinical model of glioblastoma. (de Estudos em Estresse Oxidativo, Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.)
Curcumin induces apoptosis in HCT-116 human colon cancer cells in a p21-independent manner. (Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18423603
Curcumin induces apoptosis in human non-small cell lung cancer NCI-H460 cells through ER stress and caspase cascade- and mitochondria-dependent pathways. (Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua 500, Taiwan, ROC.)
Induction of apoptosis by curcumin and its implications for cancer therapy. (Cancer Biology Laboratory, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.)
Curcumin Decreases Survival of Hep3B Liver and MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells : The Role of HIF. (Department of Physiology, Center for Structural and Cell Biology in Medicine, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21713389
Whey Protein and Cancer
In vivo research on cancer and whey showed whey protein concentrate inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells at low concentrations (Baruchel S. and Vaiu G., Anti Cancer Research, 1996).
A clinical study with cancer patients showed a regression in some patient’s tumors when fed whey protein concentrate at 30 grams per day.
It was found that whey protein concentrate selectively depletes cancer cells of their glutathione, thus making them more susceptible to cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. (Ref:) The use of a whey protein concentrate in the treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma: a phase I-II clinical study. (Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8669840
Other studies on whey protein and cancer:
Whey proteins in cancer prevention.
(Montreal General Hospital, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.)
Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment.
(Research & Development Department, Immunotec Research Ltd., 292 Adrien-Patenaude, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada, J7V 5V5)
Reduction of tumorigenesis and invasion of human breast cancer cells by whey acidic protein. (Laboratory of Applied Genetics, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8657, Japan)
Vitamin D3 - Many preclinical studies indicate that exposing cancer cells – as well as vascular endothelial cells derived from tumors - to high concentrations of active metabolites of vitamin D halts progression through cell cycle, induces apoptosis and will slow or stop the growth of tumors in vivo. There is a large amount of data which indicates the antitumor effects of vitamin D compounds. Vitamin D compounds inhibit the growth and even kill cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Daily dosing of 4,000 to 8,000 IU's is recommended. SPECIAL NOTE: Because Vitamin D3 is filtered through the kidneys and liver, there is an increased risk of developing kidney stones when taking high doses of Vitamin D3. This risk can be offset by making sure you get extra potassium and magnesium in your diet and, stay well hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.
The form of vitamin D known as, Calcitriol
Vitamin D in combination cancer treatment. (Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA.)
Mechanisms of the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory actions of vitamin D. (Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA.)
Vitamin D and breast cancer: inhibition of estrogen synthesis and signaling. (Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20156557
Anti-tumor activity of calcitriol: pre-clinical and clinical studies. (Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA.)
Vitamin D, calcium and prevention of breast cancer: a review.(Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Strang Cancer Research Laboratory at The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10511319
The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention. (Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.)