Onion Compound Suppresses Cancer Cell Growth

Onion Compound Suppresses Cancer Cell GrowthOnion Compound Suppresses Cancer Cell Growth

Onions are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This pungent vegetable has previously been cited for its health benefits, including lowering risk of certain cancers and helping with depression.

But now, a new study has found that a compound found in onions has anti-ovarian cancer effects. The research comes from Kumamoto University in Japan and is published in Scientific Reports.

According to the team, a 2014 review from the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most common type of ovarian cancer. With a 5-year survival rate of approximately 40%, effective treatment for the illness is needed.

While new cases of EOC ranks 10th among female malignancies, the team says about 80% of patients with EOC have a relapse after initial chemotherapy treatment, reported.

As such, researchers looked into the effects that a natural compound in onions - called onionin A, or ONA - has on EOC. After examining the effects of ONA on a preclinical model of EOC in cells, researchers found that the growth of EOCs slowed down after ONA was introduced.

They also discovered that ONA inhibited pro-tumor activities of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), which they say are linked with the suppression of the anti-tumor immune response of host lymphocytes.

Furthermore, they found that ONA enhanced anti-cancer drugs’ effects by boosting their anti-proliferation ability.

In further experiments on an ovarian cancer mouse model, researchers used oral doses of ONA. Results showed that the mice had longer lifespan and showed diminished ovarian cancer tumor development.

The study demonstrates that ONA slows progression of ovarian cancer tumors by interrupting myeloid cells’ pro-tumor activity.

“We found that ONA reduced the extent of ovarian cancer cell proliferation induced by co-culture with human macrophages. In addition, we found that ONA directly suppressed cancer cell proliferation,” they said. “Thus, ONA is considered useful for the additional treatment of patients with ovarian cancer owing to its suppression of the pro-tumor activation of [tumor-associated macrophages] and direct cytotoxicity against cancer cells.”

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