Compound in passion fruit could be used to treat stomach cancer, study finds

The new study, by researchers from the Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, suggested that piceatannol could potentially be used as a treatment for stomach, or gastric, cancer.

Findings of the study were published on October 20 in the peer-reviewed journal Science China Life Sciences, which is co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The researchers found that piceatannol could stimulate the activity of a protein called Beclin-1, which is critical in the regulation of autophagy – clearing out old and damaged cells – and cell death, making it effective in inhibiting gastric cancer cells, according to the paper.

The study involved in vitro experiments on human gastric cancer cell lines and in vivo experiments on mice.

The results showed that piceatannol inhibited cell proliferation and enhanced autophagic activity in gastric cancer cells, according to the researchers.

The study also found that piceatannol could be more effective if combined with a targeted cancer drug called everolimus.

An experiment on mice found that treatment with piceatannol or everolimus alone had minimal effects on tumour growth, but a combination of the two significantly inhibited tumour growth – and the inhibition continued for a minimum of one week after receiving the drug, according to the paper.

The results on human gastric cancer cell lines were similar to those of the mice experiment.

The researchers said this finding had provided a new strategy for the treatment of gastric cancer cells, but they cautioned that it needed further investigation.

“Our results indicate that piceatannol induces strong anti-tumour effects in vitro and in vivo,” the researchers wrote.

“This study elucidates the anti-tumour mechanism of piceatannol, and strongly supports the use of piceatannol and everolimus combination therapy in patients with gastric cancer.”

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