Foodstuffs for preventing cancer: the preclinical and clinical development of berries

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2009 Mar;2(3):187-94. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0226. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


Laboratory research involving berries is a promising example of food-based cancer prevention. Berries contain many known chemopreventive agents such as anthocyanins and ellagitannins that can be greatly concentrated in freeze-dried berry powders. Based on our program of berry research, this commentary presents the first reported stepwise scheme for the preclinical and clinical development of foodstuffs for cancer prevention. Our preclinical work within this scheme includes promising approaches for assessing the chemopreventive potential of berry powder and berry extracts in preclinical model systems, for determining the mechanisms of action of these agents, and for identifying the active constituents in berries. The commentary also presents preliminary results of clinical trials in the oral cavity, esophagus, and colon using various formulations of freeze-dried berries. The relative merits of berry powders, extracts, or individual constituents (anthocyanins) for cancer prevention are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diet*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Esophagus
  • Food*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats


  • Anthocyanins
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Plant Extracts