Experimental research finds silibinin reduces the growth of liver cancer
A report published in the October 28, 2007 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology described the finding of hepatologist Ke-Qin Hu, John J Lah and Wei Cui at the University of California, Irvine that silibinin, derived from milk thistle, significantly reduces the growth of several human liver cancer cell lines.
The compound has previously demonstrated an inhibitory effect on prostate, colon, skin, bladder and lung cancer cell cultures.
Silibinin is a polyphenolic flavonoid and the major biologically active compound of the milk thistle plant. Milk thistle has long been used as an herbal remedy for liver disease and has been shown to have a protective effect on the organ against alcohol or drug related damage.
In the current study, Dr Hu’s team treated four different human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines with varying doses of silibinin, and examined the compound’s effect on cell growth and proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle progression, histone acetylation, and other related processes.
The team found a dose-dependent inhibition of tumor growth associated with silibinin compared to untreated cells in all lines tested. They discovered that silibinin decreased cancer cell proliferation and cell cycle progression, enhanced apoptosis (programmed cell self-destruction), and altered the genetic structure of the cancerous cells.
At a higher concentration, silibinin also showed an inhibitory effect on two markers of angiogenesis.
“Our results defined silibinin's in vitro anti-HCC effects and possible mechanisms, and provided a rationale to further test silibinin for HCC chemoprevention,” the authors conclude.
Our Source: Life Extension Foundation www.lef.org
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