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The Surprising Link Between Peaches and Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease faced by women in the western hemisphere. In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimated that doctors diagnosed around 232,340 U.S. women with invasive breast cancer. If this condition travels around your circulatory system and spreads to other distant organs, your health challenges mount. This metastasis is responsible for most breast cancer complications and deaths. But thanks to innovative research, you have a new, natural and delicious treatment option in peaches.

Two Studies Focus on Fruit Benefits

During recent lab tests, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists found that peach extract’s polyphenolic compound mixture stopped breast cancer metastasis in mice. According to the study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, chemicals from peach flesh and skin inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and lessen the risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. The study team used the xenograftunder process to implant MDA-MB-435, an aggressive type of breast cancer cells, under the skin of mice. This technique allows researchers to examine cancer cell growth in animals. After about a week, researchers fed various peach extract amounts to different groups of mice. A few weeks later, they analyzed the mice’s lungs to check for tumors and looked for enzymes associated with cancer spreading to other organs. Mice that consumed high peach polyphenol doses developed smaller tumors, which didn’t have adequate blood vessel formations to stimulate the spread of cancer to other organs. The study team saw an inhibition of a marker gene in mice lungs, indicating the treatment was hindering metastasis. Determining the proper dose to affect mice helped the team calculate the human equivalent. A 132-pound woman would need to consume two to three peaches per day to reap the same benefits. Many fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols. Their special properties help plants ward off harmful effects from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Several studies show that these compounds act as antioxidants that protect DNA from the types of damage that can produce cancer. The team conducted its study using the Rich Lady peach variety. It noted that most peaches share similar polyphenolic compounds even if they differ in content. The study also determined that the underlying mechanism that peach polyphenols use to inhibit metastasis is targeting and modulating the gene expression of metalloproteinases. This study builds on previous AgriLife Research work that the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry certified and published. In 2009, results showed that peach and plum chlorogenic and neochlorogenic polyphenols killed even the most aggressive breast cancer cells selectively without harming normal ones. These chemical compounds also prevented breast cancer from forming in animal studies. With new evidence that a mixture of peach compounds can inhibit metastasis, researchers are enthusiastic about confirming that consuming just two or three peaches a day can provide similar benefits in women. Because nature’s nutrients are easy for patients to include in their diets, these studies provide encouragement to the many women fighting this terrible disease every year. The same group of scientists conducted both tests. It included AgriLife Research food scientist Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos who’s also an associate professor at A&M’s horticultural sciences department, plant breeder Dr. David Byrne of AgriLife Research, toxicologist Dr. Weston Porter with Texas A&M University’s department of veterinary physiology and pharmacology and Giuliana Noratto, a former A&M graduate student who joined the Washington State University faculty as an assistant professor of food science after the studies. Researchers continue to test fruit extracts and compounds in various cancer types and diabetes studies in vitro and in vivo to understand the molecular mechanisms involved. Texas A&M’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center and the California Fruit Tree Agreement funded the research. The National Institute of Health also recommends these nutritious fruits to support an overall healthy diet.

Traditional Treatments

Following well-established breast cancer treatments remains vital. Earlier-stage and metastatic breast woman with pillscancer protocols vary greatly. For relatively young and healthy women with earlier-stage breast cancer, doctors usually prefer a very aggressive course of treatment aimed at eradicating the cancer completely in six to nine months. If your breast cancer has spread, ongoing treatment is necessary to control your condition and add years to your life. You may receive one or more of these three primary treatment methods.
  1. Hormonal therapies. Doctors claim that Nolvadex and Arimidex control estrogen-receptor positive metastatic disease just as well as or better than more aggressive treatments.
  2. Monoclonal antibody. Herceptin targets specific cells that over express the Her2 protein, a condition that occurs in about one of every four breast cancers.
  3. Chemotherapy. Your doctor may prescribe multiple drugs or sequential single-agent chemotherapy in relatively high doses. Xeloda is one of the best currently available anti-metabolites for metastatic disease. You may take this long-lasting and effective prescription drug in pill form at home.

Combine Conventional and Peach Therapies

In addition to following a standard medical treatment plan, Texas A&M’s fruit research supports your diet’s role in reducing your risk and spread of breast cancer. If you’re struggling with metastatic disease, take advantage of this good news by including peaches and plums in your daily routine. Choose fresh fruits because heat destroys their polyphenols. Wash fruit well to reduce any pesticide residue lingering on the skin. Then eat the whole fruit including the skin, where the polyphenol concentration is high.



2 Comments

  1. Billie Bobo
    February 17, 2015 10:43 pm/ Reply

    Since peaches are seasonal, would dried, or frozen peaches have the same effect? Is the extract available for purchase anywhere? Has it been tested in HER2 positive breast cancer? How about its use along with Herceptin?

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