Quercetin, WNT Signaling Pathways and Myeloma

After reading the Delano Report a few months ago, I decided to test quercetin. For details (and a link to the report), please see my April 20th blog post titled Protocol, Spelled Out. What is quercetin? It’s a flavonoid found mainly in apples, onions, berries, cauliflower and nuts. It has significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. From Wikipedia: Quercetin may have positive effects in combating or helping to prevent cancer, prostatitis, heart disease, cataracts, allergies/inflammations, and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma. In fact, last August I bought a couple of bottles of quercetin for my asthma but hadn’t yet opened them. Until I read the Delano Report, that is. Then my interest in quercetin went way beyond asthma! An aside: I can report that my asthma is officially GONE. I still take one puff of my cortisone inhaler before going to bed, but that is merely a precaution.

MM and WNT. For the following section on WNT signaling pathways, I am greatly indebted to Stephen Martin, Ph.D., of the Grouppe Kurosawa. Without his posts, I might not have done any research on this topic. Last year, he wrote that WNT signaling is elevated in many cancers, including MM. Researchers have discovered that aberrant WNT signaling causes MM cells to proliferate and grow, as these studies show: http://tinyurl.com/2rorm6 and http://tinyurl.com/2yp3yc A Dutch study is currently looking into the WNT-MM connection, see: http://tinyurl.com/2ex6tp These signaling genes seem to be in every single type of cancer, from colorectal to oral cancer. For a detailed explanation on how they affect different types of cancer, see this important 2000 study: http://tinyurl.com/2jrw3p

What IS the WNT signaling pathway? In a nutshell, it is a complex network of proteins involved in many development processes (cell-to-cell communication during embyrogenesis). However, it can also influence cancer growth, as I mentioned. The more scientifically-minded can check out a Stanford University WNT Homepage containing a ton of information on the WNT gene: http://tinyurl.com/27fnaj What is relevant to my research, however, is that this pathway is consistently active in MM and causes cell proliferation and growth. Not a good thing! And guess what? Quercetin inhibits it. An April 2007 Blood study examines acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), not MM, that is true, but what is significant is that quercetin inhibits the WNT signaling pathway and causes the ALL cells to self-destruct: http://tinyurl.com/2m5w2d More evidence can be seen in a second study printed in the same edition of Blood : http://tinyurl.com/3d34vm Again, ALL cells self-destructed when treated with quercetin. Does this mean that it would have the same effect on MM cells? I haven’t found any studies on quercetin and MM, specifically…yet. But I have the feeling the answer is a resounding Yes!

My own observations. I have noticed two big changes since I began taking quercetin capsules more than a couple of months ago. One is that my rosacea (also known as curse of the Celts !) has gotten much better. I hadn’t connected this improvement to the quercetin, but recently I came to wonder: what else could it be? The other is that my peripheral neuropathy has gone completely. It had partially returned last fall (2006), though nothing like what I experienced in the pre-curcumin period (2005). Again, it’s impossible for me to say if the two things are related to my quercetin intake. Just a suspicion on my part. Of course, NOT to be discounted is the recent drop in my IgG count!

A note on quercetin from Wikipedia: Foods rich in quercetin include apples, tea (Camellia sinensis), onions (higher concentrations of quercetin occur in the outermost rings), red grapes, citrus fruits, broccoli & other leafy green vegetables, cherries, and a number of berries including raspberry, bog whortleberry (158 mg/kg, fresh weight), lingonberry (74 and 146 mg/kg), cranberry (83 and 121 mg/kg), chokeberry (89 mg/kg), sweet rowan (85 mg/kg), rowanberry (63 mg/kg), sea buckthorn berry (62 mg/kg), crowberry (53 and 56 mg/kg), and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. A study by the University of Queensland, Australia, has also indicated the presence of quercetin in varieties of honey, including honey derived from eucalyptus and tea tree flowers.

This is just a first instalment. My research on quercetin continues. There is a lot to uncover, yet.


  1. Margaret,

    Have you ever looked into “low-dose resveratrol” ? I was thinking that might be my next thing, especially if curcumin works. I just think it’s possible that they might work synergistically, since they have such different mechanisms.


  2. Oops I made a mistake. All those chemical names. I meant to say “low-dose naltrexone.” There is a web site: http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/. It’s actually a prescription drug, not a new one at all, rather safe, especially at the doses useful for treating cancer.

  3. The superMargaret has struck again! Discovered that quercetin may have (maybe I should say-likely has) potent action against MM (and a few other things also) in its own right, and not just as a means of improving the bioavailability of curcumin. My central interest is Alzheimer’s disease, rather than MM, but the knee bone’s connected to the hip bone, and the brain’s connected to the bone marrow, and it might just be that some other things are pluripotent, not only curcumin. Margaret, you now have a new and important research target in quercetin, but I would like to suggest that you enlarge that target to include a lot of other polyphenols, flavenoids and flavenols, in particular. I second minnesotadon’s suggestion about resveratrol, because it is one of those polyphenols of interest. My research into AD has uncovered that there are a substantial number of flavenoids that show the ability to dissaggregate and clear the fibrillar form of beta amyloid which is believed to be the main toxic agent that causes the death of neurons, associated with Alzheimer’s. A group at Kanazawa University have been studying several flavenoids as to their ability to disaggregate and clear beta amyloid. And guess what? quercetin is one of the better ones, but not the tops. NDGA, myricetin, apigenin, are as good or better, and resveratrol is right up there too. So I believe that all those flavenoids, in addition to quercetin, are worthy research targets. Enough to keep you busy for the next couple of years! Among other things, these flavenoids seem to inhibit COX-2. But go to 12969264 at PubMed to see more, or more generally do a search on the names of these researchers from Kanazawa. Into PubMed put the following names: Ono K, Hasegawa K, Naiki H, Yamada M and you will get a whole bunch of abstracts of papers where they report on many of these polyphenols they have tested for antiamyloid efficacy. My guess is that many of them will also show some efficacy against MM. Just a guess, but quercetin provides a clue.

  4. Hello,

    do you know this article (www.dovepress.com/getfile.php?fileID=2374&article_id=65 ) about MGUS people? Interesting not?



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