Cranberries: ripe for more cancer research?
Berries have been recognized as a functional food with potential to protect against a variety of health conditions, including some cancers. Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) production and consumption have grown in recent years, warranting further evaluation of potential health benefits. Extracts and isolated constituents from cranberry fruit inhibit growth and proliferation of tumor cells in vitro, and recent data from animal studies lend further support to cranberry's reputation as a cancer fighter. Several likely mechanisms of action for cranberry against prostate and other cancers have been identified, including induction of apoptosis and inhibition of events linked to cellular invasion and migration. This article attempts to put into perspective what is known about cranberry's potential chemopreventive properties, what is yet to be determined, and some factors to consider as research moves forward.