Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro
Berry fruits are widely consumed in our diet and have attracted much attention due to their potential human health benefits. Berries contain a diverse range of phytochemicals with biological properties such as antioxidant, anticancer, anti-neurodegerative, and anti-inflammatory activities. In the current study, extracts of six popularly consumed berries--blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry and strawberry--were evaluated for their phenolic constituents using high performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS) detection. The major classes of berry phenolics were anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanols, ellagitannins, gallotannins, proanthocyanidins, and phenolic acids. The berry extracts were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the growth of human oral (KB, CAL-27), breast (MCF-7), colon (HT-29, HCT116), and prostate (LNCaP) tumor cell lines at concentrations ranging from 25 to 200 micro g/mL. With increasing concentration of berry extract, increasing inhibition of cell proliferation in all of the cell lines were observed, with different degrees of potency between cell lines. The berry extracts were also evaluated for their ability to stimulate apoptosis of the COX-2 expressing colon cancer cell line, HT-29. Black raspberry and strawberry extracts showed the most significant pro-apoptotic effects against this cell line. The data provided by the current study and from other laboratories warrants further investigation into the chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects of berries using in vivo models.