A new study has reported that an anthocyanin-rich extract from black rice inhibits breast cancer cell growth in cell cultures and when fed to mice bearing tumors grown from human breast cancer cell lines.

Anthocyanins are polyphenol pigments that are widely present in red and purple fruits, vegetables and grains, including the following:

Black beans
Black currants
Purple sweet potatoes

Red apples
Red cabbage
Red grapes
Red onions
Passion fruit
Pomegranates & pomegranate juice
Wild rice

The study was designed to investigate the anticancer activities of the black rice extract on a variety of breast cancer cell lines, including hormone receptor positive MCF-7 (ER+, HER2/neu-), triple negative MDA-MB-231 (ER-, HER2/neu-), and HER2-overexpressing MDA-MB-453 (ER-, HER2/neu+) cells. Anthocyanin-rich black rice extract was found to reduce the viability of all of the breast cancer cell lines. The extract also was shown to induce apoptosis (i.e., it activated internal cell programs for cell suicide) in the HER2-overexpressing cells. In addition, feeding black rice extract to mice with implanted triple negative cells was found to significantly inhibit tumor growth and angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation). The authors conclude that black rice extract appears to have anticancer effects against human breast cancer cells by inducing apoptosis and suppressing angiogenesis.