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August 23, 2011
AL AIN, United Arab EmiratesSaffron provides a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer in animal models by inhibiting cell proliferation and stimulating cell death, according to a new study published in the journal Hepatology. The findings suggest the tasty spice may one day fight liver cancer in humans.
Researchers at United Arab Emirates University investigated the potential of saffron in preventing the development and progression of liver cancer by using diethylnitrosamine (DEN) to induce lesions in rats, mimicking benign and malignant tumors in humans. They then administered saffron to the animals at 75mg/kg, 150 mg/kg, and 300 mg/kg per day two weeks prior to DEN injection and continued the regimen for 22 weeks. Results showed saffron significantly reduced the number and the incidence of liver nodules, with animals receiving the highest dose of saffron showing complete inhibition of hepatic nodules. Animals that received pre-treatment with saffron displayed a decrease in the elevation of gamma glutamyl transpeptidase, alanine aminotransferase and alpha-fetoprotein (GGT, ALT, FP)proteins which indicate liver damage. Saffron inhibited the elevation of cells positive for Ki-67, cyclooxygenase 2, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nuclear factor-kappa Bp-65 and the phosphorylated tumor necrosis factor receptor, all of which have respective roles in the development and progression of cancerous cells.
"In the fight against cancer, there has been much interest in chemopreventive properties of natural herbs and plants," the researchers said. "With limited treatment options, approaches that prevent cancer development are among the best strategies to protect against the disease."
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