Forget the Chardonay, pass me the grape stems! Anti-tumor activity in prostate cancer cells


Credit: Hidefumi Makabe & Hiroshi Fujii, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Shinshu University, Japan

Grape stems are discarded en masse during the production of wine. We love and produce a lot of wine in Nagano prefecture, and have been hoping to find a positive use for the previously discarded grape stems. Scientists at Shinshu University studied compounds within grape stem extracts and found significant anti-cancer activity on tumor cells.

In this study, compounds from grape stems were isolated, characterized and evaluated for their anti-tumor activities. One of the compounds in particular was found to have induced cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and suppressed the invasive activity of the cancerous prostrate cells. The compound also significantly suppressed the expression of the cancer-promoting gene FABP5.

Studies need to be carried out to determine if the compound interacts with potent receptors in cancer cells, and promise is observed regarding its anti-metastasis properties. Further research is needed in vivo to determine if grape stems with food function can help deter cancer.


This study was partially supported by Chinomori Foundation of Shinshu University. This study was a joint research project with local wine producer St Cousair who generously provided the grape stems for the study and the Interdisciplinary Cluster for Cutting Edge Research, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Shinshu University.

Mr. Hideyuki Karasawa of Nagano Prefecture General Industrial Technical Center is thanked for help obtaining ESI-TOFMS data.

Keywords: oligomeric proanthocyanidin, vitis vinifera, flavan-3-ol, high-performance liquid chromatography, FABP5, PC3, EGCG, ESI-TOFMS, anti-cancer

The results of this research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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