Bitter melon extract shows promise for treating HNSCC

Bitter melon extract may have therapeutic potential to treat head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), according to a new study in PLOS One (October 17, 2013).

Saint Louis University pathology professor Ratna Ray, PhD, and colleagues found that bitter melon extract, which is often used in Indian and Chinese cooking and as a folk remedy for treating diabetes, regulated several pathways that helped reduce the HNSCC cell growth in mice. After four weeks, the researchers found that the growth and volume of the tumor had decreased.

They previously found that the extract activated a pathway that triggered the death of breast cancer cells, stopping them from growing and spreading. They expanded their research on bitter melon to include prostate cancer prevention with funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Bitter melon extract may enhance the current treatment options for HNSCC, but more research is needed, they concluded.

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