Pomengranate extract reduces viability and cell growth of human pancreatic cancer cells in vitro

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Nair, Vidhya Ramabhadran

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Pomegranate extract (PE) is a standardized whole fruit extract of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), a fruit with known anti inflammatory and anti cancer properties. In the present study, the effects of PE on two different cell lines of human pancreatic cancer cells, AsPC-1 and PANC-1 were examined. Both cell lines are epithelial cancers but differ morphologically and in their response to treatment with PE. PE inhibited proliferation of both cancer cell lines in a dose dependent and time dependent manner. The reason for this was the potency of PE to cause significant cell cycle arrest in the pancreatic cancer cells, which was noted to be cell specific. AsPC-1 was arrested in G₂ phase while PANC-1 was arrested in G₀/G₁phase of the cell cycle. PE also checked the viability of confluent cancer cells in a concentration dependent manner. In case of AsPC-1 this was due to the action of PE to induce apoptosis, as demonstrated by the Annexin-V assay. In case of PANC-1, a highly invading cancer greatly affected by the presence of surface stem cell markers CD44⁺/CD24⁺, PE was capable of modifying the stem cell markers and induce an increase in the non tumorigenic sub population of cells. A study was also conducted to look at the action of PE in causing inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell proliferation, in comparison to a clinically used chemotherapeutic agent, Paclitaxel. The results indicated that the effect of PE, at clinically feasible doses was superior to that of clinically used doses of Paclitaxel. This data suggests that PE, which is proven to be a safe dietary supplement, looks promising in the prevention and treatment of human pancreatic cancer cells without the side effects of standard drug therapy and could possibly have a role in controlling stem cancer cell population



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