Grape Seed May Aid in Fight Against Bowel Cancer

Grapes on VineGrape seed may aid the effectiveness of chemotherapy in killing colon cancer cells and may reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, suggests new research from the University of Adelaide as published in the journal PLOS ONE.

To test the effects of grape seed on chemotherapy for bowel cancer, the researchers used commercially available grape seed extract, a by-product of winemaking in which tannins from the grape seed was extracted, freeze-dried, and powdered. The researchers then tested the grape seed extract in laboratory studies using colon cancer cells grown in culture.

The findings of the present study included the following results:

  • Grape seed extract showed no side effects on the healthy intestine at concentrations of up to 1000mg/kg.
  • Grape seed extract significantly decreased intestinal damage compared to the chemotherapy control.
  • Grape seed extract decreased chemotherapy-induced inflammation by up to 55 percent.
  • Grape seed extract increased growth-inhibitory effects of chemotherapy on colon cancer cells in culture by 26 percent.

Grape seed extract taken orally significantly reduces the inflammation and tissue damage caused by chemotherapy in the small intestine. The extract also results in no harmful effects on non-cancerous cells. Unlike chemotherapy, grape seed extract appears to target only cancer cells.

States lead author Dr. Amy Cheah, researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine at the University of Adelaide, “This is the first study showing that grape seed can enhance the potency of one of the major chemotherapy drugs in its action against colon cancer cells.”

Adds Dr. Cheah:


“Our experimental studies have shown that grape seed extract reduced chemotherapy-induced inflammation and damage and helped protect healthy cells in the gastrointestinal tract. While this effect is very promising, we were initially concerned that grape seed could reduce the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. In contrast, we found that grape seed extract not only aided the ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, but was also more potent than the chemotherapy we tested at one concentration.”

In other words, grape seed extract appears to aid chemotherapy in fighting bowel cancer and also reduces the harmful side effects of chemotherapy.

States co-author and project leader Professor Gordon Howarth, “Grape seed is showing great potential as an anti-inflammatory treatment for a range of bowel diseases and now as a possible anti-cancer treatment. These first anti-cancer results are from cell culture and the next step will be to investigate more widely.”


Co-author and joint lead researcher Dr Sue Bastian, Senior Lecturer in Oenology, summarizes the findings of the study, “These findings could be a boost to the wine grape industry as its value adds to what is essentially a by-product of the winemaking process.”


Grape Seed Shown Effective Against Bowel Cancer:
Grape Seed Shows Promise in the Fight Against Bowel Cancer:

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Written by Heather

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, homemaker, homeschooler, and mother.

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