A recent study has revealed that extract from rosehips, the fruit from rose plants, can reduce proliferation and metastasis of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. The study entitled “Rosehip (Rosa canina) Extracts Prevent Cell Proliferation and Migration in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells” was presented by Patrice Cagle, first author, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, during the Experimental Biology 2015 meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts.
Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for 10-20% of all breast cancers. “Triple-negative” refers to the unique characteristics of the cancer cells, which lack three growth factor receptors — estrogen, progesterone and the human protein growth factor receptor 2. These receptors are frequently targeted in breast cancer therapy, and because they are lacking in triple-negative breast cancer, standard chemotherapy has reduced effectiveness. In fact, most of the available breast cancer therapies are not effective against a triple-negative tumor, and patients who achieve remission have higher levels of cancer recurrence and death rates within the first 3 years of remission when compared to other types of breast tumors.
Dr. Martin stated in a news release that it would be a major advancement if we could take one vitamin tablet from the rose plant, a natural product without known adverse effects, to potentially protect or treat cancer.
The research team treated tissue cultures of triple negative breast cancer cells with various concentrations of rosehip extract. Rosehips, the round part of the rose flower just below the petals, are used as a natural source of vitamin C in tea and other foods. The researchers used pure rosehip that can be bought as a supplement in solid or liquid form and observed that at higher concentrations (1.0 mg/ml) triple negative breast cancer cell growth was decreased by half.
Further experiments showed that the extract could function by decreasing mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt, two enzymes involved in TNBC cell growth. Notably, the extract improved the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin, reducing cell growth and proliferation in tissue cultures.
Dr. Martin said that hopefully these studies, together with animal models, will allow rosehip to be used as a preventative strategy in breast cancer or as a combination in standard cancer therapy.
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