Bitter melon (Momordica Charantia) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Bitter melon contains a number of natural compounds with biological activity, including alkaloids, glycosides and triterpenoids. MAP30, a protein isolated from bitter melon extract, has been reported to possess anticancer effect.
Bitter Melon Cancer Prevention and Treatment
In vitro and animal-based studies indicate anticancer activity. Bitter melon displays cytotoxic effect against leukemic cells in vitro and has a cytostatic activity on MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells xenografted into mice.
Different in vitro studies have showed the anticancer effect of bitter melon against various cell lines, including liver cancer, human leukemia, solid sarcomas and melanoma. A University of Colorado Cancer study reported in the journal “Carcinogenesis” shows that bitter melon juice restricts the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to metabolize glucose. The cell cultures were treated with bitter melon juice while the mice were fed lyophilized bitter melon juice for a period of 6 weeks. Scientists evaluated bitter melon juice’s effects on pancreatic cancer cells in mice, and found that the mice that were given the juice had a 60% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with control mice.
Bitter melon, exerts a important impact against breast cancer cell growth and may become a chemopreventive agent against this form of cancer. According to research published in the journal” Cancer Research“; bitter melon extract, can be utilized as a dietary supplement for the avoiding of breast cancer. In study, used human breast cancer cells, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, and primary human mammary epithelial cells as an in vitro model to assess the efficacy of bitter melon extract as an anticancer agent. Bitter melon extract treatment of breast cancer cells resulted in a significant decrease in cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death. When cell death was measured by looking at cell membrane integrity, 80% of the MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cells had died within 48 hours of therapy with 2 parts bitter melon extract to 100 parts cell culture medium. The scientists found that cell division was partially halted when treated with bitter melon extract for 24 hours. “Our findings suggest that bitter melon extract modulates several signal transduction pathways, which induces breast cancer cell death,” explained scientist Ratna B. Ray, professor in the Department of Pathology at Saint Louis University.