Eat your apigenin…

In my November 30th post I had a look at chemoresistance. Well, it just so happens that a few days ago, in a rather vain attempt to catch up on my Science Daily readings, I came across a bit of info (see that might be particularly useful to those doing chemo right now.


A recent study shows that apigenin, a naturally occurring dietary agent found in vegetables and fruit, can make cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy.


Here’s what happens: apigenin apparently localizes tumor suppressor p53, a protein, in the cell nucleus – a necessary step for killing the cell that results in some tumor cells responding to chemotherapy. […] In many cancers, p53 is rendered inactive by a process called cytoplasmic sequestration. Apigenin is able to activate p53 and transport it into the nucleus, resulting in a stop to cell growth and cell death. Now wait a sec. Why wouldn’t this phenomenon also help those of us who are not doing chemotherapy? Well, actually, I guess that would be implied in the researchers’ recommendation that fruit and veggies be included in everyone’s diet to prevent the development of cancer.


So where do we find apigenin? For the most part, in fruit (including apples, cherries, grapes), vegetables (including parsley, artichoke, basil, celery), nuts and plant-derived beverages (including tea and wine). It has been shown by researchers to have growth inhibitory properties in several cancer lines, including breast, colon, skin, thyroid and leukemia cells. It has also been shown to inhibit pancreatic cancer cell proliferation. Thumbs up!


If you do a search for apigenin on my blog, you will find my August 8 2008 post, reporting that this flavonoid doesn’t inhibit Bortezomib, which of course is a good thing for those who are on Velcade.


I did a quick online search on apigenin. Lots of interesting stuff came up, including a 2004 study ( on rats, which concludes that our body may be able to accumulate apigenin because it is metabolized, absorbed and eliminated slowly. So slowly, in fact, that apigenin was found in the rats’ blood nine days after administration. Incredible, huh? By the way, according to this study, apigenin can also be found in rosemary and camomile, and in honey, fennel and wheat germ.


In this November 2008 study (, we can read that apigenin inhibits NF-kappaB and also the molecules regulated by this transcription factor, such as Bcl-x (aha!) but not Bcl-2. It also inhibits COX-2. This is very good news for celery fans.


I haven’t been that interested in apigenin because, to my knowledge, there are no specific studies on apigenin and myeloma. But from now on I will try to keep half an eye on it.


Apigenin and leukemia:

Apigenin and ALL:

Apigenin and ovarian cancer:

Apigenin and pancreatic cancer:

Apigenin and breast cancer:

Apigenin and neuroblastoma:

The list goes on…

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