Radiation therapy remains a primary treatment for cervical cancer, especially late stage cervical cancer, and it involves using high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells.
In a study headed up by Dr Yujiang Fang from the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia the researchers set out to determine whether or not blueberry extract could be used as a radiosensitizer, which is a compound that makes cancer cells more vulnerable to radiation therapy.
The team tested blueberry extract on human cancer cell lines and the extract was tested both alone and in combination with radiation therapy. The outcome was:
- radiation therapy alone reduced the number of cancer cells by 20 percent, the blueberry extract alone led to a 25 percent reduction in cancer cells.
- blueberry extract and radiation therapy combined showed the number of human cervical cancer cells fell by around 70 percent.
These researchers explain that the blueberry extract does not only make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation, but it also reduces the abnormal cell growth that fuels cancer development.