In many articles on our website we discuss a cancer cell’s ability to talk to other cancer cells to plot ways of spreading and new ways of mutating into a state of being “chemo-resistant.” Cancer develops an intricate network of communications in the body. Communication among the cancer cells is one of cancer’s keys to survival. Researchers and doctors have long speculated that if we can disrupt this communication, we can disrupt cancer spread. Antioxidants can disrupt this communication. In this article we will focus on the role of polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients, high in antioxidants. You will certainly recognize polyphenol foods listed below as foods that are routinely recommended here at the Magaziner Center for Wellness.
Cancer cells divide and conquer. Polyphenols stops the division.
A recent paper (1) from doctors at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome examined the role of natural polyphenols as a cancer therapy.In this recent paper, some of these foods were noted for their anti-cancer properties and their ability to disrupt cancer communication. One particularly effective way polyphenols can work is by sending chemical messages that disrupt the cancer cells’ ability to divide and mutate. A cancer cell that cannot divide and mutate dies.
Here is what the researchers found:
“Cancer onset and progression have been linked to oxidative stress by increasing DNA mutations or inducing DNA damage, genome instability, and cell proliferation and therefore antioxidant agents could interfere with carcinogenesis.” Simply, cancer spreads by mutation, antioxidants can disrupt that mutation cycle by disrupting cancer communication.
Artichoke polyphenols: could kill breast and liver cancer cells. An April 2020 study suggested “Artichoke exerts potent cell cycle arrest, cytotoxic, and apoptotic effects on oral squamous carcinoma cell lines.”(2)
Chlorogenic acid in coffee could disrupt DNA methylation (cancer’s ability to mutate and make itself chemo-resistant). A December 2020 study (3) “demonstrated that Chlorogenic acid improved antitumor immunity, exerting antitumor and anti‑metastatic effects by impairing (cancer) signaling pathway(s), suggesting that Chlorogenic acid may serve as a potential candidate for therapy of breast cancer.
This was followed by an August 2021 (4) study where researchers “evaluated the biological impact of two of the main coffee polyphenols, chlorogenic acid (CGA) and caffeic acid (CA), as well as two polyphenol-rich coffee extracts (green coffee extract and toasted coffee Extract) against (two particular colorectal cancer cell cell types.) The results showed a potential of coffee to modulate biological mechanisms involved in colorectal cancer development.”
Curcumin in turmeric could disrupt pancreatic, prostate, and lung cancer cell lines. A December 2019 published in the medical journal Nutrients (5) noted that “despite the significant advances in diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, lung cancer prognosis and survival rates remain poor due to late diagnosis, drug resistance, and adverse effects. Therefore, new intervention therapies, such as the use of natural compounds with decreased toxicities, have been considered in lung cancer therapy. Curcumin, a natural occurring polyphenol derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been studied extensively in recent years for its therapeutic effects. It has been shown that curcumin demonstrates anti-cancer effects in lung cancer.”
Daidzein in soy could kill breast cancer cells. A January 2021 study (6) suggested daidzen could block or impair the spread of leukemia cells.
Genistein in soy could disrupt DNA methylation in prostate cancer cells, renal carcinoma, and esophageal cell carcinoma.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate in Green tea could kill liver cells by disrupting the cell’s ability to mutate. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate could disrupt breast cancer and skin cancer cell lines. It is also being studied for its beneficial effects in leukemia and prostate cancer. An October 2019 study in the Journal of Cancer (7) suggests that Epigallocatechin-3-gallate was effective in shutting down cancer communications and pathways in lung cancer spread. An October 2020 study (8) found protective effects of EGCG on endometrial, breast, and ovarian cancers.
Ginseng could act to disrupt reactive oxygen species (oxidation) in brain cancer. A January 2021 study suggested that the ginseng leaf peptide significantly suppressed tumor growth and induced the tumor cells death. Further the ginseng leaf peptide would be a potential anti-colon cancer candidate.(9)
Lycopene in tomatoes could disrupt DNA methylation in breast cancer cells. A January 2021 study (10) suggested that “consumption of a lycopene-enriched, organic, extra-virgin olive oil positively influenced prostate health and other physiological variables. These findings may help to advance the development of new preventive and/or chemotherapeutic strategies based on lycopene.”
Phenethyl isothiocyanate in broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower could disrupt prostate cancer lines.
Resveratrol in red grapes, cranberries, blueberries, and nuts could disrupt colon, gastric, and lung cancer lines.
Quercetin in onions, buckwheat, and citrus could kill pancreatic cancer cells.
And the list expands into other research.
Lemon peel extract.
A December 2019 (11) study found that Lemon peel extract “exerts a protective role against the metastatic process in gastric cancer.”
Another December 2019 study (12) suggested polyphenols could exert benefit against skin cancer. The researchers of this study wrote: “Polyphenols are one of most important phytochemicals distributing in herb plants, vegetables and fruits, which known as important anticancer agents. . . Chemopreventive effects of polyphenols are mediated by several signaling pathways against skin carcinogenesis and metastasis, implying the importance of polyphenols to open up new horizons in development of anti-skin cancer therapeutic strategies.”
Tannic acid found in herbal teas.
In a November 2019 study (13), researchers found the antitumor and antioxidant effects of Tannic acid may be a promising treatment for glioblastoma based on animal research.
Cervical cancer patients: “Polyphenols have been found to be promising agents against cervical cancer.”
A June 2020 study (14) made these comments: “Cervical cancer is common among women with a recurrence rate of 35% despite surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy routinely experience several side effects including toxicity, non-targeted damage of tissues, hair loss, neurotoxicity, multidrug resistance (MDR), nausea, anemia and neutropenia. Phytochemicals can interfere with almost every stage of carcinogenesis to prevent cancer development. Many natural compounds are known to activate/deactivate multiple redox-sensitive transcription factors that modulate tumor signaling pathways. Polyphenols have been found to be promising agents against cervical cancer.”
In August 2021, further research published in the journal International journal of molecular sciences (15) suggested:
“(The reason why) in the last (few) years the emphasis has been on alternative medicine (treatments), more specifically on phytochemicals, as a substantial number of studies showed that diet contributes to cancer prevention and treatment. All these studies are trying to find new chemopreventive agents with less toxicity but high effectiveness both in vitro and in vivo. . . The bigger picture illustrates that polyphenols have great potential in cervical cancer prevention, with strong effects on gene modulation.”
Polyphenol / Flavinoids disrupt cancer communication
An April 2020 study (16) suggested: “Flavonoids are natural polyphenols found in plant, fruits, vegetables, teas and medicinal herbs. Based on reports, over 10,000 flavonoids have been detected and categorized into several subclasses, including flavonols, anthocyanins, flavanones, flavones, isoflavones and chalcones. It seems that the anticancer effect of flavonoids is mainly due to their antioxidant and anti inflammatory activities, and their potential to modulate molecular targets and signaling pathways involved in cell survival, proliferation, differentiation, migration, angiogenesis and hormone activities.”
Polyphenols’ cellular interference kills cancer
In the medical publication Cancer Letters, (17) doctors supported using polyphenols as mitochondria-targeted anticancer drugs.They noted that that mitochondria are the respiratory and energy centers of the cell where signaling pathways converge to give messages to the cells. One of those messages, as we discussed above, programs the death of cancer cells (apoptosis).
Polyphenols and breast cancer
From August 2021, researchers publishing in the journal Biomolecules.(18)
“Several genes and epigenetic modifications are involved in the development and progression of breast cancer. Research in phytochemistry, nutrigenomics, and nutrigenetics has provided strong evidence that certain phytonutrients are able to modulate gene expression at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels (simply the gene expression levels of cancer). Such phytonutrients may also be beneficial to prevent and treat breast cancer.’
The research team reviewed “the nutrigenomic effects of various phytochemicals including polyphenols, phytosterols, terpenoids, alkaloids, and other compounds from different sources. Overall, these phytonutrients are found to inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation, differentiation, invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and induce apoptotic cell death by targeting various molecular pathways. They also alter epigenetic mechanisms and enhance the chemosensitivity and radiosensitivity of cancer cells.”
Do Polyphenols protect against harmful effects of radiotherapy?
An August 2021 paper in the journal Molecules (19) offers cancer patients these suggestions on the beneficial aspects of polyphenols used against the more harmful aspects of radiotherapy.
“Currently, radiotherapy is one of the most effective strategies to treat cancer. However, deleterious (harmful) toxicity against normal cells indicate for the need to selectively protect them. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species reinforce ionizing radiation cytotoxicity, and compounds able to scavenge these species or enhance antioxidant enzymes (e.g., superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase) should be properly investigated.
Antioxidant plant-derived compounds, such as phenols and polyphenols, could represent a valuable alternative to synthetic compounds to be used as radio-protective agents. In fact, their dose-dependent antioxidant/pro-oxidant efficacy could provide a high degree of protection to normal tissues, with little or no protection to tumor cells.”
The Magaziner Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program
The Magaziner Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program combines conventional, complementary and functional therapies individualized to the needs of each patient. We place great emphasis on an extremely thorough series of lab tests to evaluate the cells of the immune system, inflammatory markers, antioxidant defenses, nutritional status, and overall toxic burden. Most of our patients have already been through the rigors of conventional treatments but have either experienced adverse side effects or unsatisfactory outcomes or both.
Our whole-body approach to cancer includes a variety of therapies, such as nutrition and lifestyle counseling, dietary modifications, supplementation, intravenous vitamin C and other substances, oxidative therapies, immunotherapy, detoxification, lifestyle modifications and exercise therapy, spirituality and mind-body techniques, including stress management and meditation, all with the goal of strengthening the immune system and restoring normal cellular function.
Our treatments are also focused on reducing inflammation, enhancing cellular immune response, improving mitochondrial function, reducing risks of blood clots and inactivating cancer stem cells or cancer initiating cells, that are likely to cause recurrences and metastasis of the disease and are often far more harmful than the actual tumor cells. We strive to change the microenvironment and behavior of the cancer cells by reducing the fuel for these cells and, at the same time, leaving healthy cells alone.
If you would like to explore more information, please contact our office so we can start a conversation with you.
1 Mileo AM, Miccadei S, Polyphenols as Modulator of Oxidative Stress in Cancer Disease: New Therapeutic Strategies, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2016, Article ID 6475624, 17 pages, 2016. doi:10.1155/2016/6475624
2 Hassabou NF, Farag AF. Anticancer effects induced by artichoke extract in oral squamous carcinoma cell lines. Journal of the Egyptian National Cancer Institute. 2020 Dec;32:1-0.
3 Zeng A, Liang X, Zhu S, Liu C, Wang S, Zhang Q, Zhao J, Song L. Chlorogenic acid induces apoptosis, inhibits metastasis and improves antitumor immunity in breast cancer via the NF‑κB signaling pathway. Oncology Reports. 2021 Feb 1;45(2):717-27.
4 Villota H, Moreno-Ceballos M, Santa-González GA, Uribe D, Castañeda IC, Preciado LM, Pedroza-Díaz J. Biological Impact of Phenolic Compounds from Coffee on Colorectal Cancer. Pharmaceuticals. 2021 Aug;14(8):761.
5. Wan Mohd Tajuddin WNB, Lajis NH, Abas F, Othman I, Naidu R. Mechanistic Understanding of Curcumin’s Therapeutic Effects in Lung Cancer. Nutrients. 2019 Dec 6;11(12). pii: E2989. doi: 10.3390/nu11122989. Review. PubMed PMID: 31817718.
6 Sabran A, Kumolosasi E, Jantan I, Jamal JA, Azmi N, Jasamai M. Induction of cell death and modulation of Annexin A1 by phytoestrogens in human leukemic cell lines. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. 2020 Dec 22.
7 Zhang L, Xie J, Gan R, Wu Z, Luo H, Chen X, Lu Y, Wu L, Zheng D. Synergistic inhibition of lung cancer cells by EGCG and NF-κB inhibitor BAY11-7082. J Cancer. 2019 Oct 21;10(26):6543-6556. doi: 10.7150/jca.34285. PMID: 31777584; PMCID: PMC6856885.
8 Huang YJ, Wang KL, Chen HY, Chiang YF, Hsia SM. Protective effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on endometrial, breast, and ovarian cancers. Biomolecules. 2020 Nov;10(11):1481.
9 Liu Z, Liu X, Li W, Luo Q, Liu J, Wang D. Anti‐colon cancer activity tracking isolation of peptide from ginseng leaves and potential mechanisms evaluation in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Peptide Science. 2021 Jan 18:e3297.
10 Carrasco C, Blanco L, Abengozar Á, Rodríguez AB. Effects of Lycopene-enriched, Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Pilot Study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2021 Jan 8.
11 Pagliara V, Nasso R, Di Donato P, Finore I, Poli A, Masullo M, Arcone R. Lemon Peel Polyphenol Extract Reduces Interleukin-6-Induced Cell Migration, Invasiveness, and Matrix Metalloproteinase-9/2 Expression in Human Gastric Adenocarcinoma MKN-28 and AGS Cell Lines. Biomolecules. 2019 Dec 5;9(12). pii: E833. doi: 10.3390/biom9120833. PubMed PMID: 31817563.
12 Sajadimajd S, Bahramsoltani R, Iranpanah A, Kumar Patra J, Das G, Gouda S, Rahimi R, Rezaeiamiri E, Cao H, Giampieri F, Battino M, Tundis R, Campos MG, Farzaei MH, Xiao J. Advances on Natural Polyphenols as Anticancer Agents for Skin Cancer. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Dec 3:104584. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104584. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 31809853.
13 Bona NP, Pedra NS, Azambuja JH, Soares MSP, Spohr L, Gelsleichter NE, de M Meine B, Sekine FG, Mendonça LT, de Oliveira FH, Braganhol E, Spanevello RM, da Silveira EF, Stefanello FM. Tannic acid elicits selective antitumoral activity in vitro and inhibits cancer cell growth in a preclinical model of glioblastoma multiforme. Metab Brain Dis. 2019 Nov 26. doi: 10.1007/s11011-019-00519-9. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31773434.
14 Yadav N, Parveen S, Banerjee M. Potential of nano-phytochemicals in cervical cancer therapy. Clinica Chimica Acta. 2020 Jun 1;505:60-72.
15 Drețcanu G, Iuhas CI, Diaconeasa Z. The Involvement of Natural Polyphenols in the Chemoprevention of Cervical Cancer. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 16;22(16):8812. doi: 10.3390/ijms22168812. PMID: 34445518; PMCID: PMC8396230.
16 Hosseinzadeh E, Hassanzadeh A, Marofi F, Alivand MR, Solali S. Flavonoid-Based Cancer Therapy: An Updated Review. Anti-cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2020 Apr 22.
17 Gorlach S, Fichna J, Lewandowska U Polyphenols as mitochondria-targeted anticancer drugs Cancer Lett. 2015 Jul 13. pii: S0304-3835(15)00444-9. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2015.07.004.
18 Bhattacharya T, Dutta S, Akter R, Rahman MH, Karthika C, Nagaswarupa HP, Murthy HCA, Fratila O, Brata R, Bungau S. Role of Phytonutrients in Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics Perspective in Curing Breast Cancer. Biomolecules. 2021 Aug 9;11(8):1176. doi: 10.3390/biom11081176. PMID: 34439842; PMCID: PMC8394348.
19 Faramarzi S, Piccolella S, Manti L, Pacifico S. Could Polyphenols Really Be a Good Radioprotective Strategy?. Molecules. 2021 Jan;26(16):4969.