Eating Peaches May Slow Breast Cancer Growth

Eating peaches may slow breast cancer growth according to new research published in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. This new study, done by Washington State University food scientist and colleagues at Texas A&M, follows a 2009 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In 2009, the team found peaches were effective in inhibiting breast cancer cell growth in petri dishes.

Giuliana Noratto, WSU assistant professor of food science and first author of both studies, stated that she felt drawn to the research after she had studied the health benefits of root plants in her native country. Noratto is originally from Peru where she learned that cures for disease often exist within healthy diets and medicinal plants.

The WSU and Texas A&M team believed the cancer growth was suppressed due to the fruit’s phenolic acids. In the recent experiment, Noratto and her colleagues implanted aggressive breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-435) beneath the skin of mice in a process known as xenograft. They gave the cells a week to establish. Once the cancer cells were established, they fed the mice peach polyphenols. These compounds protect plants from the sun’s damaging UV radiation.

“We didn’t even think about metastasis at that time. The surprise was we analysed lungs and beside the fact that the peach compounds inhibited the growth of the tumor, they also inhibited the metastasis levels on the lungs,” Noratto told WSU science writer, Eric Sorensen.

Amazingly, peaches may even reduce the risk of breast cancer spreading to other areas of the body such as the lungs. After only 12 days, the mice fed the high concentrations of the extract had reduced tumor growth, lessened blood vessel formation within the tumors, and less evidence of cancer spreading enzymes.

“The importance of our findings are very relevant, because it shows in vivo the effect that natural compounds, in this case the phenolic compounds in peach, have against breast cancer and metastasis,” researcher Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, an associate professor Texas A&M University, told AgriLife Today.

The research indicates that phenolic acids from the peaches could be made into powdered supplements for breast cancer patients. Yet, Noratto believes that if the doses of peach extract given to mice were scaled for a 132 pound adult, she would need only 2-3 peaches a day to achieve the same effect.

In 2010, breast cancer claimed as many as 40,000 women in the United States. Women aren’t the only ones who might consider eating more peaches; however, men can get breast cancer too.

[Photo by Rositsa Maslarska]