Study Shows Pineapple Enzyme May Boost Mesothelioma Treatment, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Australian researchers say bromelain may be the key to making chemotherapy more effective for mesothelioma patients.

The addition of bromelain increased the cytotoxicity of cisplatin significantly in both cell lines.

A study conducted in Australia and reported by Surviving Mesothelioma finds that a compound derived from the stems of pineapples appears to be able to improve standard drug treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma.

Bromelain has a history of use in folk medicine and is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects.Previous studies have found it to have a negative effect on some pancreatic and breast cancer cells but researchers at the University New South Wales are the first to publish research on bromelain’s ability to enhance cisplatin treatment for mesothelioma. Writing in the journal AntiCancer Drugs, they report, “The addition of bromelain increased the cytotoxicity of cisplatin significantly in both cell lines.”

The research focused on a protein called MUC-1. Found in several mesothelioma cell lines, MUC-1 makes it possible for cancer cells to spread and invade other areas of the body and to resist the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs. But bromelain appears to have the ability to break down MUC-1 in mesothelioma cells through a chemical decomposition process called hydrolyses.

In the new study, different mesothelioma cell lines were treated with various concentrations of bromelain. Their viability was assessed after 4 and 72 hours. The researchers found that bromelain triggered apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagy (breakdown of the component parts of cells) in several mesothelioma cell lines. Although the compound did not increase the toxicity of a cancer treatment called 5-FU, it did make cisplatin more effective. Along with pemetrexed, the platinum-based drug cisplatin is the most common drug treatment for mesothelioma.

The new study is the second published study on bromelain and mesothelioma from the same group of scientists. They conclude that “Bromelain has the potential of being developed as a therapeutic agent in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.” Organized human trials will be needed before bromelain can be incorporated into mesothelioma treatment. Doctors discourage mesothelioma patients from attempting to self-medicate with supplements.

The study was published in Anti-Cancer Drugs. (Pillai, K, et al, “Anticancer effect of bromelain with and without cisplatin or 5-FU on malignant peritoneal mesothelioma cells”, February 25, 2014, pp. 150-160.

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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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