Study suggests strawberries may help prevent breast cancer

ANCONA, Italy — Strawberries may pack some extra punch when it comes to preventing breast cancer, a recent study finds.

Researchers in Europe and Latin America conducted an experiment on mice that suggested the compounds found in strawberries can work against cancer formation.

Eat more strawberries to prevent breast cancer? A recent study found that a compound in the fruit blocked the growth of cancerous cells in mice. (Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash)

Study co-author Maurizio Battino, a principal investigator at the European University of the Atlantic and the Marche Polytechnic University says his team found promising results particularly in the battle against breast cancer.

“We have shown for the first time that strawberry extract, rich in phenolic compounds, inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells in in vitro and in vivo models,” he says in a news release.

Battino and his team are quick to remind the public that these results, while encouraging, cannot be extrapolated to humans just yet.

The researchers tested the effects of strawberry extract on invasive, highly aggressive A17 tumor cells. Cell division and inhibited migration — two factors that lead to cancer — in the mice that were fed a diet high in the strawberry extract virtually stopped.

Female mice were given injections of the A17 tumor cells and divided into two groups, one fed a standard diet, the other a diet rich in strawberry extract. The mice eating high concentrations of strawberry extract had reduced expression of genes involved in the invasion and metastasis processes. At the same time, the expression of genes thought to suppress metastasis increased. The tumors themselves reduced in weight and mass, as well.

Battino hopes that the exciting discovery can translate to an equally positive experience if tested with humans.

“These results are without a doubt valid for understanding potential effects of strawberries on breast cancer and the molecular mechanisms involved, but they must be complemented with clinical and epidemiological studies to verify whether humans experience the same positive effects as we have observed in mice,” he says.

In the meantime, the researchers suggest enjoying a diet filled with plenty of produce to ensure a healthy lifestyle, but perhaps a few extra strawberries may do the body a little better, too.

The study was published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports.