Cranberry and its phytochemicals: a review of in vitro anticancer studies
This article reviews the existing research on the anticancer properties of cranberry fruit and key phytochemicals that are likely contributors to chemoprevention. Results from in vitro studies using a variety of tumor models show that polyphenolic extracts from Vaccinium macrocarpon inhibit the growth and proliferation of breast, colon, prostate, lung, and other tumors, as do flavonols, proanthocyanidin oligomers, and triterpenoids isolated from the fruit. The unique combination of phytochemicals found in cranberry fruit may produce synergistic health benefits. Possible chemopreventive mechanisms of action by cranberry phytochemicals include induction of apoptosis in tumor cells, reduced ornithine decarboxylase activity, decreased expression of matrix metalloproteinases associated with prostate tumor metastasis, and antiinflammatory activities including inhibition of cyclooxygenases. These findings suggest a potential role for cranberry as a dietary chemopreventive and provide direction for future research.