Cherries contain important micronutrients that have been shown to have chemopreventive properties, including beta-carotene, delphinidin, cyanidin-3-glucoside, melatonin, and ursolic acid. While several studies have found that cherries might inhibit colon cancer, few population studies have been performed that address the effects of consuming cherries on breast cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating cherries
Cherries contain relatively high levels of anthocyanins (flavonoids that give them their intense red coloration), giving them antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemopreventative properties. For example, delphinidin has been shown to block epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in breast cancer cells (EGFR is expressed at high levels in at least 30% of breast cancers and is associated with a poor prognosis). Delphinidin was shown to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in HER2+ breast cancer cells in another study. Cyandin-3-glucoside has also been shown to possess both chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic activity and to enhance the treatment effects of Herceptin. Cherry extracts have been shown to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Generally speaking, tart or sour cherries (Prunus cerasus) have higher concentrations of anthocyanins than sweet cherries.
Sour cherries are also a very important source of melatonin. Melatonin protects against breast cancer in several ways, including by reducing aromatase activity within the breast, thereby reducing estrogen production.
Non-organic cherries must be washed very thoroughly to remove pesticide residue.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on cherry.