Background: Berries contain several phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and other flavonoids. There has been growing interest in a variety of potential chemopreventive activities of edible berries. The potential chemopreventive activity of a variety of small berries cultivated or collected in the province of Québec, Canada were evaluated here.
Materials and methods: Strawberry, raspberry, black currant, red currant, white currant, gooseberry, high-bush blueberry, low-bush blueberry, velvet leaf blueberry, serviceberry, blackberry, black chokeberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry were evaluated for antioxidant capacity, anti-proliferative activity, anti-inflammatory activity, induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.
Results: The growth of various cancer cell lines, including those of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast, was strongly inhibited by raspberry, black currant, white currant, gooseberry, velvet leaf blueberry, low-bush blueberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry juice, but not (or only slightly) by strawberry, high-bush blueberry, serviceberry, red currant, or blackberry juice. No correlation was found between the anti-proliferative activity of berry juices and their antioxidant capacity (p > 0.05). The inhibition of cancer cell proliferation by berry juices did not involve caspase-dependent apoptosis, but appeared to involve cell-cycle arrest, as evidenced by down-regulation of the expression of cdk4, cdk6, cyclin D1 and cyclin D3. Of the 13 berries tested, juice of 6 significantly inhibited the TNF-induced activation of COX-2 expression and activation of the nuclear transcription factor NFkappaB.
Conclusion: These results illustrate that berry juices have striking differences in their potential chemopreventive activity and that the inclusion of a variety of berries in the diet might be useful for preventing the development of tumors.