Pancreatic Cancer: Chemotherapy Effect May Be Enhanced By Chokeberry Extract Interview
Bashir A. Lwaleed PhD, FRCPath, CBiol FSB, FIBMS Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Southampton
Southampton General Hospital
Southampton United Kingdom

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Lwaleed: That constituent(s) of Chokeberries has a supra-additive cytotoxic effect in combination with the drug gemcitabine, which is used clinically for this condition, when applied to a pancreatic carcinoma cell line in vitro.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Lwaleed: About this series of experiments, not too much, because the material had already been tested by Dr Rooprai in the more specialised field of brain tumour research. The tentative implication, due to the tolerance of endothelial cells to the extract, that anti-angiogenic activity may not be an additional property was not anticipated,  but the experiments were undertaken with an open mind, so “surprising” would not be strictly appropriate.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Lwaleed: Clinicians should be primed to “watch this space” to see whether the phenomenon firms up in further laboratory and clinical studies.  It might also register as further evidence that micronutrients in general may have a useful role to play in disease management.

Patients similarly should be pleased that attempts are underway to reduce the exposure to toxic chemotherapy drugs required for efficacy using harmless nutritional intervention.  They too should monitor the progress of such research.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Lwaleed: Two lines of research spring to mind:

  • Mechanistic experiments should help determine the cell biology behind this synergy.
  • As the disease management intervention would be quite mild, it should be possible to proceed quickly to clinical trials, although the design would be critical in the face of a very aggressive disease.


Cytotoxicity of gemcitabine enhanced by polphenolics from Aronia melanocarpa in pancreatic cancer cell line AsPC-1

Noor Azela Abdullah ThaniSholeh KeshavarzBashir A LwaleedAlan J Cooper,  Harcharan K Rooprai
J Clin Pathol doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2013-202075