Researchers from the University of Illinois found that two phytonutrients in foods like celery and artichokes have pancreatic cancer killing powers in a lab setting.
Helps fight off cancer cells
Although individually, apigenin and luteolin were effective to kill pancreatic cancer cells, scientists found that pre-treating cancer cells with either compound, and then applying a chemotherapy drug, seemed to be the most effective solution.
“We received the best results when we pre-treated cancer cells with apigenin for 24 hours, then applied the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine for 36 hours,” study researcher Elvira de Mejia, a professor of food chemistry and food toxicology at the university, said in a statement.
Potential reason: Antioxidants
A potential basis for the effectiveness may be their status as antioxidants.
Mejia said one of the ways that chemotherapeutic medications kill cells is based on their pro-oxidant substance, meaning that flavonoids and chemotherapeutic drugs may compete with each other when they’re given at the same time.
Researchers advised that people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer likely can’t get enough antioxidant flavonoids to affect their cancer just by eating celery and artichokes. However, the new findings are promising for potential cancer medications.