New research published in the journal BMC Gastroenterology shows that consumption of the plant flavonoid luteolin inhibits the activity of cell signaling pathways important for the growth of colon cancer.
Luteolin is found in concentrated amounts in celery, hot peppers, parsley and spinach. Extensive research has preceded this study to confirm the health-promoting and disease-fighting nature of natural plant compounds for a wide variety of vegetables and fruits consumed raw or minimally cooked.
Colon cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths in Western populations. Any natural compound that can significantly lower the risk from this deadly illness without any side effect should warrant special consideration in the diet of any health-minded individual.
Luteolin Blocks Cell Signaling Pathway to Halt Colon Cancer Progression
Colon cancer cells express elevated markers of an inflammatory protein known as insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) as compared to normal colon cancer tissue. Researchers believe that it is this inflammatory factor that is responsible for driving uncontrolled cell division and cancer growth.
Researchers from Korea found that in a controlled setting, application of the flavonoid luteolin to colon cancer cells blocked the secretion of IGF-II within a time period of two hours. By blocking cell receptors for the IGF-II protein, scientists found that cancer cell growth was halted and additional cell signaling pathways that normally trigger metastatic growth were inhibited. Luteolin was shown to trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) by arresting the normal cell cycle that typically results in uncontrolled growth.
The study leader, Professor Jung Han Yoon Park, found that luteolin affected cell signaling pathways, which are activated by IGF-I in cancer.
He commented of the finding, “Blocking these pathways stops cancer cells from dividing and leads to cell death.”
Professor Park concluded, “Our study, showing that luteolin interferes with cell signaling in colon cancer cells, is a step forward in understanding how this flavonoid works.”
Luteolin is one of a number of natural plant-derived compounds that are known to exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
As further studies are planned to better understand the impact of luteolin on colon cancer progression, most adults will want to ensure a regular intake by consuming plenty of vegetables including celery hearts, hot peppers, parsley or spinach, or supplement with a full-spectrum multivitamin containing the flavonoid.
 Park JHY et al. Luteolin decreases IGF-II production and downregulates insulin-like growth factor-I receptor signaling in HT-29 human colon cancer cells. BMC Gastroenterology. 2012 Jan 23, 12:9, doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-9.
 Plant Flavonoid Luteolin Blocks Cell Signaling Pathways in Colon Cancer Cells. Science Daily. 2012 Jan 22. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120122201213.htm.
 Gray N. Plant flavonoid shows potential to block cancer pathways. 2012 Jan 23. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Plant-flavonoid-shows-potential-to-block-cancer-pathways.