Promising Results from Human Colon/Liver Cancer Study

British scientists at the Department of Cancer Studies at the University of Leicester have just published promising Phase 1 results from a double blind study where resveratrol was administered to patients with colorectal cancer which has spread to their livers (i.e. hepatic metastases).
In the study, 5 grams of micronized resveratrol (micronization is the process of making molecules of a substance very small in order to increase absorption into the body) were given orally to a group of patients while another group received a placebo. This course of treatment lasted 14 days. 
Not only were the large doses of resveratrol well tolerated by the patients, but there is indication that liver cancer cell apoptosis (a process where the cells essentially destroy themselves) increased an impressive 39%.  Unfortunately, the patients receiving the placebo did not experience this benefit.
Editor’s Note: this study is interesting for three reasons:
  • The indication that apoptosis increased 39% in resveratrol treated patients is very promising as the 5 year survival rate of patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver is around 5%. Further, about 20% of all diagnosed colorectal cancer cases in the United States (i.e. 30,000 cases/year) involve metastases to the liver;
  •  It demonstrates that resveratrol taken orally can reach organs of the body – and therefore treat them. From the study, “Resveratrol was detectable in hepatic tissue …up to 2287 ng/g”; and,
  • Micronization improves absorption of resveratrol into the body; micronization of resveratrol increased mean plasma levels by 3.6 fold over non micronized resveratrol.

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