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Dousing ovarian tumor cells with cranberry juice makes them much more vulnerable to chemotherapy drugs. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers collected ovarian cancer cells from tumors resistant to platinum drugs and exposed the cells to purified cranberry extract made from a store-bought cranberry drink. (Platinum drugs such as cisplatin are a mainstay of ovarian cancer treatment.) The juice increased the platinum drugs' cancer-killing power sixfold. The juice also seemed to slow the growth and spread of some cancer cells.


Researchers were curious about cranberry juice because antioxidants unique to cranberries, the A-type proanthocyanidins, seem to bind with tumor proteins in ovarian cancer cells and block their activity. Further study is needed to determine whether drinking cranberry juice can help women with ovarian cancer achieve better results from chemotherapy.


The study was presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Mass., last August.