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French Grape Seed OPCs Improve the Effect of Cancer-Fighting Drugs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer has the second highest mortality rate in the United States. Fortunately, some latest research on this grape seed extract provides insight and hope into the newest directions in fighting this cancer and others as well.

One of the biggest barriers to conventional cancer treatment is that cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Trying to overcome that with higher dosages isn’t always an option because of the terrible side effects that they have on patients. This study found that the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) from a French grape seed extract (VX1) inhibited the growth of resistant cancer cells and the proteins that would otherwise help them thrive.

This means that the French grape seed OPCs could be part of an adjunct therapy – a beneficial add-on – to chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer.


Ravindranathan P, Pasham D, Goel A.  Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) from grape seed extract suppress the activity of ABC transporters in overcoming chemoresistance in colorectal cancer cells. Carcinogenesis. 2018 Dec 29.

Multidrug resistance is a major hindrance in managing cancer. By performing a series of experiments in chemoresistant colorectal cancer cell lines, we demonstrate that oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) from grape seed extracts can sensitize both acquired (HCT116-FOr cells) and innately chemoresistant (H716 cells) cancer cells to chemotherapeutic drugs, 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and oxaliplatin, by inhibiting ABC transporter proteins. When combined with chemotherapeutic drugs, OPCs significantly inhibited growth of the chemoresistant cells (p<0.05 to p<0.001), and decreased the expression of several key ABC transporters. Moreover, the activity of the ABC transporters was also significantly decreased by OPCs in the cell lines (p<0.05). We further confirmed that co-treatment with OPCs sensitized the chemoresistant cells to 5FU and oxaliplatin, as observed by improvement in cell cycle arrest, double strand breaks and p53 accumulation in these cells. Additionally, we confirmed that co-administration of OPCs with chemotherapeutic drugs significantly decreased chemoresistant xenograft tumor growth in mice (p<0.05). Together, our study illuminates the downregulation of multiple ABC transporters as a mechanism by which OPCs overcome chemoresistance in cancer cells, and may serve as adjunctive treatments in patients with refractory colorectal cancer.

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