Blueberry Extract—A Radiosensitizer in the Defense Against Cancer?


Blueberry Extract-A Radiosensitizer in the Defense Against Cancer? 

A new study, led by Yujian Fang, MD, indicates that adding blueberry extract to radiation therapy can significantly improve treatment efficacy. In this study, the researchers tested if blueberry extract can function as a radiosensitizer, a compound that makes cancer cells more susceptible to the effects of radiation treatment. It was previously discovered that the compound resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, has this effect on prostate cancer cells during radiation therapy. Blueberries, which contain resveratrol, also contain flavonoids, a chemical known for serving as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic. This new study found that blueberry extract alone led to a 25% reduction in cervical cancer cells, compared to just radiation therapy which reduced the number of cancer cells by 20%. However, the combination of blueberry extract and radiation therapy reduced the number of cervical cancer cells by 70%. The researchers conclude that although further research needs to be conducted, blueberry extract holds promising potential in the treatment of cervical cancer as well as other cancers.

To learn more about oncology management for different types of cancer, visit our on-demand webcast, Improving Treatment and Care in Patients with Lung Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Panel Discussion.

This activity is sponsored by Pharmacy Times Continuing Education™ in collaboration with the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) and is supported by an educational grant from Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.

CASE IN POINT Test your problem-solving skills!

Here are snippets from our on-demand webinar The Role of the Pharmacist in Managing HIV Treatment.

Try to answer the question and then check your answer by participating in this online CE activity.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from ViiV Healthcare. ViiV Healthcare was not involved in the development of content or selection of faculty for this educational activity.

KL is a 35-year-old woman who presents to the HIV clinic for initiation of ART. Below is additional information about KL:

-Past Medical History: HTN, GERD, HIV (CD4: 450, VL 75,000, no resistance mutations, HLA-B*5701 negative)
-Social History: She is in a monogamous relationship with her boyfriend of 10 years. She does not use contraception. 
-Allergies: No known drug allergies 
-Medications: pantoprazole, hydrochlorothiazide, 2 nucleoside transcriptase inhibitors

Which of the following antiretroviral therapies would you recommend for KL?

A. Dolutegravir
B. Rilpivirine
C. Efavirenz
D. Raltegravir

For the correct answer, please see the bottom of this page.

Answer to Case in Point is A: Dolutegravir