Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Grapes May Stop Cancer Cells

Chemicals in Grapes Work Together to Kill Cancer
WebMD Health News

March 31, 2005 -- Grapes contain natural chemicals that have the potential to stop the spread of cancer cells.

The researchers reporting that news recommend going for grapes, not supplements.

"The findings add to the argument for eating whole foods," says Elvira Gonzalez de Meija, an assistant professor in the food science and nutrition department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"By eating the fruit, we know that the bioactive component involved goes into your bloodstream and relocates to other regions," says de Meija, who worked on the grape study.

Supplements probably won't offer the same rewards, since they might not have all the key chemicals needed, she explains in a news release.

Just how many grapes does it take? The scientists aren't sure yet. But so far, they say grapes may have protective potential against cancer that is independent of its antioxidant properties. Plus, reams of other research encourage eating plenty of produce -- at least five fruits and veggies a day for maximum benefits, say health experts.

Tracing Grapes' Goodness

Scientists already knew that grapes (and lots of other fruits and vegetables) are rich in antioxidant compounds called flavonoids. They're among the plant chemicals that have also shown potential against heart disease.

The research team has identified 10 previously unknown flavonoids in grapes. They also figured out that those chemicals work best as a team, not as lone rangers.

"It's very clear that the synergy is critical," says de Meija in the news release. "The findings add to the argument for eating whole foods."

Strength in Numbers

The researchers didn't just pick grapes off the vine. Instead, they made extracts from specially bred red grape plants. That allowed the scientists to quickly make bigger quantities of the flavonoids for study.

Next, the extracts went up against an enzyme that is responsible for the arrangement and rearrangement of genes in the cell and for cell growth and reproduction. Inhibiting this enzyme may kill cancer cells or stop their growth.

Working together, the flavonoids had more success against the enzyme than by themselves. They also outperformed two other previously identified flavonoids, quercetin and resveratrol.

The flavonoids are now being tested on animals. "We are getting direct evidence that these components in grapes work synergistically in fighting cancer," says de Meija in the news release. "They have to work together to obtain the potency that works."

The study appears in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas