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Research Corner: Is soursop a promising anticancer remedy ?

Triple-negative breast cancer is a highly metastatic and aggressive subtype of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer does not have receptors for the hormones estrogen or progesterone and does not express excess HER2 protein. Therefore, it has limited treatment options and a very poor prognosis. It is also found to be more common in younger people under age 50 and in African-American women. Additionally, prognosis is reportedly worse among women of African descent when compared to those of European descent. This racial disparity is also observed in the higher mortality rates seen in African-American women.  As a result, there is urgent need to ameliorate this racial disparity by finding new and effective therapeutic options that might be sourced from natural products. A previous survey conducted by the Natural Products Institute (NPI), The UWI Mona revealed that soursop is the most commonly used plant by cancer patients in Jamaica, particularly those with breast cancer. Hence, the research team evaluated the cytotoxic potential of its extracts against both a Caucasian breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and an African-American derived triple negative breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-468). Results showed that the soursop extract potently inhibited the growth of the African-American derived triple negative breast cancer cell line while having no effect on the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line at concentrations of 100 microgram per millilitre of extract and below. 

The NPI’s findings demonstrated that soursop is a promising anticancer remedy that can improve the disparity observed in the outcomes of triple-negative breast cancer. Therefore, the results support further evaluations for full characterization of this ethnomedical therapy and on-going evaluations are focused on mechanisms of action and physiological relevance.

Reference: Foster, K., Wauchope, S., Asemota, and Delgoda, R. (2019, October). The Cytotoxic Impact of Annona muricata on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Poster presentation at the 7th International African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium Conference, Pegasus Hotel, Jamaica.

Photo Credit: Travel St. Lucia

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Published on 31 Oct, 2022

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