Cancer Prevention / News

Resveratrol: The Power of Red Grape Skin in Cancer Prevention

Tamaro Hudson, PhD, MPH

Public Health Challenge
World Health Organization indicates that cancer leads to about 12% of human deaths claiming more than 10,000,000 lives each year. In Unites States cancer is the second leading cause of death, being responsible for ~ one in every four deaths. It is believed that at least 1/3 of all cancers could be prevented.

There is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is used by 25-50% of the population in industrialized nations. CAM has gained widespread popularity and increasing acceptance among physicians. Estimates of use of CAM therapies by cancer patients range from 7% to 64%.  

Resveratrol, trans-3,5,4’-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene is a phytoalexin produced by plants, found in the skin of red grapes, and known to affect tumor initiation, promotion, and progression. Importantly, it has been shown to suppress angiogenesis and metastasis. Furthermore, it modulates multiple pathways involved in cell growth, apoptosis, and inflammation, and inhibits tumor growth in several types of cancer. The anti-carcinogenic effects of resveratrol appear to be closely associated with anti-oxidant activity through inhibition of cyclooxgenase, hydroperoxidase, protein kinase C, Bcl-2 phosphorylation, Akt, focal adhesion kinase, NF-kB, matrix metalloprotease-9, and cell cycle regulators.

Research Findings
Numerous studies that have utilized a wide range of concentrations of resveratrol suggest its biological effects may vary depending on cell and tissue types. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit growth of several types of cancer. Epidemiology studies have linked diets high in fresh fruits and vegetables to lower cancer rates. However the epidemiology of red wine and its association between intake and risk of prostate cancer provides mixed results.

A study of alcohol consumption and risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged men:

       Data from a population-based control study in King County, WA, were utilized to evaluate the association of alcohol consumption and middle-aged men.

       Observed a statistically significant inverse trend between lifetime red wine consumption and prostate cancer, which was particularly strong for aggressive disease.

A prospective cohort study of red wine consumption and risk of prostate cancer:

       In 1986, Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) reported average consumption of red wine, white wine, beer and liquor during the past year and their alcohol consumption over the prior 10yrs.

       No linear trend was observed between red wine consumption and prostate cancer.

       Overall findings suggested that red wine does not contribute appreciably to the etiology of prostate cancer.

Red wine consumption and risk of prostate cancer: The California Men’s Health Study:

       Investigated the effect of red wine intake on the risk of prostate cancer using data prospectively collected in the California Men’s Health Study (84,170 men aged 45-69).

       Did not find a clear association between red wine intake and risk of prostate cancer.



Possible Directions
[n1] Dr. Hudson research had demonstrated that muscadine grape skin extract (MSKE) and resveratrol target distinct pathways to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth and that unique properties of MSKE suggest that it may be an important source for further development of chemopreventive therapeutic agents against prostate cancer.  As a result, Dr. Hudson and Dr. Michael Carducci, through the Howard-Hopkins Cancer Centers Partnership are designing and a Phase 1 clinical trial of muscadine grape skin extract (MSKE). In the next year, a trial in humans of MSKE dose effects will be conducted to learn the effective biological dose.

Future Research Opportunities
Prevention and treatment with nutraceuticals can be a powerful instrument in maintaining health. Current knowledge of the beneficial effects of nutraceuticals will have an impact on nutritional therapy. Present accumulated knowledge about nutraceuticals represents a great challenge for nutritionists, physicians, food technologists and food chemists. There are opportunities to examine other natural compounds found in foods, which may be linked to cancer prevention and therapies.


 [n1]Not sure how this led to Tamaro’s clinical trial??? Did he describe his other work? Let’s send it to Tamaro and ask him to fill in a paragraph about resveratrol.

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