Posted on Sep 09, 2013, 6 a.m.
Celery – as well as artichokes and the herb Mexican oregano – contain apigenin and luteolin, flavonoid compounds that kill human pancreatic cancer cells.
Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer, with few early symptoms; it is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with a five-year survival rate of only 6%. Elvira de Mejia, from the University of Illinois (Illinois, USA), and colleagues have identified celery, artichokes, and the herb Mexican oregano to contain abundant levels of two flavonoid compounds – apigenin and luteolin, In a lab model of pancreatic cancer, the researchers observed that apigenin inhibited glycogen synthase kinase-3[beta] (GSK-3[beta]), which led to a decrease in the production of anti-apoptotic genes in the pancreatic cancer cells. Further, in one of the cancer cell lines, the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis went from 8.4% in cells that had not been treated with apigenin to 43.8% in cells that had been treated with a 50-micromolar dose. In this case, no chemotherapy drug had been added. Apigenin treatment also modified gene expression, with those genes associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines becoming highly upregulated. The study authors conclude that: “Flavonoids have a protective role in pancreatic cancer tumorigenesis.”
Jodee L. Johnson, Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia. “Flavonoid apigenin modified gene expression associated with inflammation and cancer and induced apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells through inhibition of GSK-3[beta]/NF-[kappa][beta] signaling cascade.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 14 August 2013.