Consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of several cancers, particularly colorectal cancer, possibly linked to their phytochemical content, which is of interest due to several proposed health benefits, including potential anticancer activity. Epidemiological data suggests that cancers of the digestive tract are most susceptible to dietary modification, possibly due to being in direct contact with bioactive food constituents and therefore investigating the effects of these bioactive compounds on the prevalent colorectal cancer is feasible. Berries are a common element of Western diets, with members of the Rubus, Fragria, Sorbus, Ribes and Vaccinum genus featuring in desserts, preserves, yoghurts and juices. These soft fruit are rich in bioactive phytochemicals including several classes of phenolic compounds such as flavonoids (anthocyanins, flavonols and flavanols) and phenolic acids (hydroxybenzoic and hydroxycinnamic acids). Whilst there is little data linking berry consumption to reduced risk of colorectal cancer, in vitro evidence from models representing colorectal cancer suggests that berry polyphenols may modulate cellular processes essential for cancer cell survival, such as proliferation and apoptosis. The exact mechanisms and berry constituents responsible for these potential anticancer activities remain unknown, but use of in vitro models provides a means to elucidate these matters.
|Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
|Published (in print/issue) - 2012