A yellow pigment found in chamomile tea, celery, oranges, grapefruit and parsley could end up being one of the latest treatments for mesothelioma.
According to a number of studies, including research by doctors at the University of Rome, natural pigment found in the aforementioned vegetables and plants have proven to work as an anti-cancer agent and antioxidant agent. Known as apigenen (API), the yellowish pigment was tested against cancerous mesothelioma cells.
Results showed that API stopped cancerous cell survival rate and promoted cancerous cell death. Researchers who studied mice that were treated with API determined that the mice survived twice as long as the control mice who did not get treated with API.
“We demonstrated for the first time that API treatment was able to inhibit the growth of MM cell lines in vivo,” lead researcher Dr. Laura Masuelli wrote. “Overall, we demonstrated that Apigenin inhibited in vitro and in vivo malignant mesothelioma cells growth by targeting different signaling pathways and inducing apoptosis.”
The mice were injected with API directly into the abdomen. Not only did the treatment increase their survival rate but it also improved their condition. The mice that were studied had peritoneal mesothelioma, a common type of asbestos-related cancer, which is marked by cancerous cells building up around the lining of the abdominal cavity.
As of today, the most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma still remains hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), combined with cytoreductive surgery. Scientists who researched API believe that adding it to traditional cancer treatment will help patients live longer and fend off their illness better.
Cons of API
Although API benefits have been proven, there are also a few drawbacks that should be taken into consideration. For instance, API can cause cell division, activate certain enzymes, and possibly increase percentage of cells “measurable by the sub-G1 assay.”
Regardless, the significant survival rate of the lab mice shows that API benefits may make it a possible treatment option for mesothelioma patients in the future.
“Overall, when comparing the survival of mice upon treatment, it was observed that API treatment prolonged mice median survival time as compared to the vehicle treatment,” Masuelli wrote. “Our results indicated that API specifically interfered with intraperitoneally transplanted [malignant mesothelioma] cell growth.”