~ Silibinin May Help Slow Lung Cancer Development

- Dye, Life Extension

The June 21, 2006 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported the finding of Rajesh Agarwal, PhD and his colleagues at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver that the compound silibinin, derived from milk thistle, helps prevent the growth and development of lung tumors in mice.

Dr Agarwal's team injected 75 mice with urethane to induce lung tumors, and injected a control group with saline. The animals injected with urethane were provided with normal diets for two weeks, after which they were given diets containing 0.033 percent, 0.1 percent, 0.33 percent, 1 percent, or no silibinin. Ten mice from each group were examined 20 weeks following injection, when lung tumors in this model are in their early stage, while the remainder were examined after 29 weeks.

It was found that mice injected with urethane who received any of the silibinin-containing diets had fewer and smaller tumors than those who received unsupplemented diets at both stages of examination. At 20 weeks, the mean number of larger tumors was reduced by 93 percent among those who received 1 percent silibinin compared to injected mice given the control diet.

A significant reduction in tumor size was also observed among the mice examined after 29 weeks, with a 50-83 percent reduction compared to untreated mice. Additionally, silibinin was associated with a reduction in tumor microvessel density of 89 percent compared to the tumors of mice who did not receive the compound, indicating an inhibitory effect on angiogenesis.

"Although the mechanisms by which silibinin interferes with lung tumor growth in preclinical models remains to be explored," the authors note, "these results raise the possibility that silibinin may have chemopreventive activity against lung tumor growth and progression in humans."

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