ITCs kill myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo!

We already know that watercress, broccoli and other members of the cruciferous family are good for us in many ways (I have written about isothiocyanates or ITCs, specifically PEITC, in other posts). And this isn’t the first time I’ve read that isothiocyanates kill myeloma cells. That bit of news came out during the 2008 ASH conference (see http://goo.gl/UWwf3)…

But this is the first time I’ve read the actual study, which was published last month in “Haematologica” and is co-authored by an impressive panel of myeloma specialists (including many of the 2008 ASH ones, such as Kenneth Anderson and Paul Richardson).

As luck would have it, the full text is available online: http://goo.gl/29z7k  So I won’t go overboard with details…

The main thing, as I mentioned above, is that isothiocyanates kill myeloma cells by inhibiting a bunch of important processes involved in myeloma cell survival…

The study authors also found that these compounds enhanced the in vitro anti-myeloma activity of several conventional and novel therapies used in multiple myeloma. Further on in the study, we find out that those therapies are thalidomide, bortezomib, doxorubicin, melphalan and lenalidomide. So this is good news for anyone taking those drugs right now…I say, go ahead and have a big bowl of watercress (crescione, in Italian)! Incidentally, I wrote a post about watercress about a year ago: http://margaret.healthblogs.org/2010/09/19/what-a-small-bowl-of-watercress-can-do%E2%80%A6/ Watercress contains a lot of PEITC, which is able to turn off a protein called HIF that is important in myeloma, too…For those who wish to do more reading, here is a PubMed abstract addressing the crucial role played by HIF in myeloma: http://goo.gl/gsJp2

Back to our “Haematologica” study now. According to the authors, isothiocyanates have potent anti-myeloma activities and may enhance the activity of other anti-multiple myeloma agents. No comment needed!

Now scroll down to the Discussion part and read this: In this study, we show that SFN and PEITC have significant dose-and time-dependent activity against various MM cell lines and primary MM cells. SIGNIFICANT ACTIVITY. Mmmh, I like the sound of that!

Another relevant issue is that these isothiocyanates, PEITC (especially) and SFN, are able to kill not only the weak little myeloma cell lines but also (!) the resistant lines, yes, those that are resistant to drugs. Hah!

Now, leaving aside all the jargon concerning ITCs, what does this study mean for us? Just that we should eat as much watercress and other cruciferous family members as possible. A bit of caution might be necessary for those on Dex, doxorubicin and melphalan, though: when a low dose of PEITC was combined with those three drugs, the authors found that there were moderate or slight antagonistic effects. So ask your doctors first…

Another important excerpt: Our observation that SFN and PEITC have in vivo anti-MM activity in a xenograft myeloma model indicate that pharmacologically achievable levels of ITCs can affect the biological behavior of MM cells, thus supporting the relevance of our in vitro observations. For compounds with chemopreventive potential in healthy individuals, it is important that administration in cancer patients will not have harmful effects, e.g. antagonistic affect on activity of established anti-cancer therapies that these patients may receive. For example, the flavonoid quercetin inhibits bortezomib-induced apoptosis. In contrast to quercetin, we have observed that chemopreventive ITCs potentiate the anti-MM effects of bortezomib, and other conventional and novel anti-MM agents.

The authors then state that it may one day be possible to LOWER the doses of chemo drugs if they are found to be as effective when used in combination with ITCs. This would decrease the rates and severity of side effects while maintaining potent anti-MM activity. Wow, this is truly EXCELLENT NEWS…as well as being a big step in the direction of integrative oncology…finallyfinallyfinally, I say!!!

Toward the end, we can read the following: Importantly, our study raises the intriguing possibility that dietary supplementation with ITCs during the treatment of MM patients could potentially improve therapeutic responses. YAY!!! Intriguing indeed!!!

My biggest question right now is: where can I buy some organic crescione?!!!

7 Comments

  1. Hi Margaret

    Another good bit of research, just back from a fantastice 3 week break in Greece and bought water cress yesterday and have next Valcade and dex today, so a plateful for breakfast I think. We have a an organice watercress farm just a few miles away, so I think I will get stocks in, I have always thought it was good for you it is really high in many minerals and vitamins, as well as antioxidants. I did try it juiced a while ago, but I would only recommend it in small doses, it was very strong and hot and I had trouble drinking it. (and I have drunk some pretty harsh juices in my time) Lol.

    I hope to get some more results today, after my break from treatment, so fingers crossed they are still good.

    Will try and catch up with all the posts later,
    Love Sue

  2. i JUST FOUND A PRESCRIPTION ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN WATERCRESS EXTRACT: USE FRESH WATERCRESS, PUT IT IN A BLENDER WITH AT LEAST 80% PROOF VODKA, THEN POUR INTO A GLASS JAR, WHEN IT SETTLES EITHER ADD MORE WATERCRESS OR MORE VODKA TO HAVE THE LIQUID ON TOP BE 1/4 TO 1/2 OF THE JAR (TOP HALF) THE WATERCRESS WILL SINK TO THE BOTTOM. ONCE YO HAVE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WATERCRESS AND VODKA, SHAKE THE JAR WHENEVER YOU THINK OF IT DAILY FOR 2 WEEKS, THEN STRAIN THROUGH A CLOTH. wHEN LABELING IT, WRITE AN EXPIRATION DATE 5 YEARS FROM THE DATE YOU STRAINED IT, STORE IN A DARK GLASS BOTTLE OR CUPBOARD. the general dose is 60 drops (2 dropperfuls 3-t times a day. her is the site that explains it.
    http:www,ehow.com/how_2214005_make-a-t…

  3. Margaret, Good morning from Tenneese . Thank you for all your research. I understand you are not a medical doctor and are not prescribing anything. IF you were to take a supplement of powdered watter cress, how much would you personally take each day? Thank you!

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