Resveratrol, which is found primarily in grapes, berries, and nuts, has been found to inhibit the growth of a number of cancer cell lines, including triple negative (ER-/PR-/HER2-) breast cancer cells. Resveratrol has also been shown to increase the effectiveness of a variety of breast cancer treatments. A new study recently presented at the annual American Association for Cancer Research meeting has reported that resveratrol enhances the treatment effects of Taxol (paclitaxel) in Taxol-resistant triple negative breast cancer cells. While it makes sense to consume resveratrol-rich foods during chemotherapy and radiation treatment, taking resveratrol supplements might not be safe.

Latest research finds resveratrol enhances treatment of Taxol-resistant cells

The study referenced at the beginning of this news article was designed to investigate the effects of resveratrol in triple negative breast cancer cells, including chemotherapy-resistant cells. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit the growth of a number of cancer cell types. However, the actions of resveratrol in triple negative cells and in cancer cells that are resistant to Taxol are not well understood. Chemotherapy-resistant cancer cells are able to eject drugs or use other survival pathways to bypass treatment.

To conduct the study, the authors used MDA-MB-231 triple negative breast cancer cells, as well as a new Taxol-resistant cell line that they developed using MDA-MB-231 cells. At low concentrations (< 10 μM), resveratrol was found to induce proliferation in both cancer cell types. However, treatment with higher concentrations (10-100 μM) reduced proliferation of both cell types, the Taxol-resistant cells to a greater extent. Resveratrol also interfered with the colony formation ability of both cell types, which indicates reduced survival capacity. In addition, resveratrol heightened the DNA fragmentation associated with apoptosis (programmed cell death) compared to untreated cells of both cell lines, the Taxol-resistant cells again to a greater extent.

The authors conclude that resveratrol can inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in triple negative cells, including Taxol-resistant cells. The authors further comment that the results provide rationale for the use of resveratrol as a starting point for development of a new chemotherapy drug for drug resistant, aggressive cancers as well as in combination with other anti-cancer drugs.

Please see our articles on what to eat during Taxol and Adriamycin chemotherapy for more information.