Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two types – Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are curable, however, melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous, especially among young people according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light or sunlight. Researchers are studying certain plant substances found in grapes, berries and walnuts and observed that these substances, when combined, have potential in preventing skin cancer.
About The Study
Zbigniew Walaszek, Ph.D., research associate professor of pharmacology at the Health Science Center led the study. Researchers induced skin cancer in mice in the labs by applying carcinogenic chemicals twice a week for four weeks. At the same time, researchers applied topical resveratrol on the skin and fed the mice diets supplemented with various combinations of the plant substances.
The natural substances including resveratrol are found in the skin of red grapes, and grape seed extract. Other natural substances include calcium D-glucarate, a salt of D-glucaric acid, present in many fruits, vegetables and also the bloodstream; and ellagic acid, found in a most of berries and in walnuts.
Results of the study
Researchers found that each compound has a unique mechanism of action. Even low doses of the plant substances in combination produced protective effects, while individual substance showed comparatively less benefits.
Dr. Walaszek said “both the combined agents and the combined treatments work better than single agents or treatments in prevention of skin cancer.”
On the basis of research, scientists are planning to use plant substances in topical applications like creams or sunscreens, supplements and in the diet to prevent skin cancer.
The study findings hold great potential for those most at risk of skin cancer and other cancers involving epithelial cells, including lung cancer.