These foods that reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer

Apigenin and luteolin, two polyphenols found in large quantities in celery and parsley, could prevent the development of pancreatic cancer.

In recent years, research has been looking seriously at the active and good molecules for our health present in fruits, vegetables, spices or plants used in common drinks: coffee or tea. Thus, the biological effects of many polyphenols have been shown, such as: the anti-cancer properties of EGCG from green tea, delphinidin from blueberries and ellagic acid from raspberries. Certain polyphenols indeed have a strong anti-inflammatory activity which could contribute to the anti-cancer effect of these molecules.

Celery and parsley to block the occurrence of pancreatic cancer

According to a study, apigenin and luteolin would be particularly effective in preventing pancreatic cancer. These two polyphenols, particularly abundant in celery and parsley, block the formation of new blood vessels stimulated by inflammation. Since these vessels are absolutely essential for tumor progression, these observations therefore suggest that the regular consumption of foods rich in apigenin and luteolin could prevent the development of several cancers.

American researchers have in fact observed that the addition of these molecules to cancerous cells derived from this organ caused a complete cessation of their growth, accompanied by the triggering of the cell death program by apoptosis. These effects are observed at low concentrations of apigenin and luteolin, and are probably due to the property of these molecules to strongly inhibit the activity of the protein glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3). Since this enzyme plays a central role in the survival of cancer cells, its inhibition by apigenin and luteolin deprives these cells of a mechanism essential to their progression and, by extension, leads to their death.

At the same time, the researchers also observed that the two polyphenols caused spectacular changes in the expression of several inflammatory proteins, in particular interleukin-17 (114-fold increase) and alpha lymphotoxin (33 times). This major impact on the production of inflammatory molecules could therefore also participate in the anticancer action of apigenin and luteolin.

15% less risk

These observations illustrate once again how many plants can exert a positive influence on the risk of cancer, even against diseases as terrifying as pancreatic cancer. Dietary habits monitored by 540,000 people have shown that adopting a healthy diet consisting of a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains combined with a moderate consumption of sugar, fat and alcohol a 15% reduction in the risk of pancreatic cancer. It is therefore likely that this protection can be increased by the frequent consumption of parsley and celery.

Especially since apigenin and luteolin are eliminated relatively slowly from the body and the regular consumption of these foods, whether in soup or in a salad such as tabbouleh, makes it possible to reach blood levels high enough to block the processes involved in the growth of cancer cells.


Johnson JL and Mejia EG. Flavonoid apigenin modified gene expression associated with inflammation and cancer and induced apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells through inhibition of GSK-3/NF-B signaling cascade. Mol Nutr Food Res.

Arem H et al. The healthy eating index 2005 and risk of pancreatic cancer in the NIH-AARP study. J Natl Cancer Inst.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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