Red-Wine Compound Shows Potential for Fighting Skin Cancer

U.S. researchers will feed resveratrol to mice to see if the polyphenol can kill melanoma.
May 1, 2003

A component of red wine already thought to have health benefits is now being investigated as a possible treatment for skin cancer. In a recent lab experiment at Marshall University in West Virginia, resveratrol was found to destroy human skin-cancer cells. Now the researchers plan further tests to see if the red-wine compound inhibits the growth of melanoma in mice.

Several previous studies have found that resveratrol -- a polyphenol found in grapes, red wine and peanuts -- may help fight some forms of cancer; it is currently being tested as a possible anti-cancer drug.

In the Marshall University experiment, published in the Feb. 20 issue of Cancer Letters, scientists from the department of biochemistry and molecular biology placed different amounts of resveratrol -- ranging from 5 to 100 micromolars (a measurement of a compound's concentration in a solution) -- in dishes with two different strains of melanoma cells. The resveratrol was left in contact with the cancer cells for up to 72 hours.

After only 24 hours, the resveratrol began to destroy both strains of the cancer. "The amount of resveratrol that was effective [in killing all the melanoma cells], 30 micromolars, is equivalent to that found in an 8-ounce glass of Cabernet," said lead researcher Richard Niles. Lower doses of the compound didn't kill all of the cells.

At higher doses, the cancer cells died more quickly. For example, one strain of melanoma in a solution of 100 micromolars of resveratrol was completely eradicated in 48 hours.

The exact chemistry behind this response is still being studied. "At the present time, we do not know how resveratrol is inducing apoptosis [cell death] in these human melanoma cells," said Niles.

For the next step in the research, mice injected with skin-cancer cells will be given a resveratrol solution to ingest -- rather than having the compound applied directly to the skin. This way, the scientists hope to answer a few fundamental questions on how resveratrol works once it is swallowed.

For example, said Niles, "How is resveratrol metabolized? How much resveratrol reaches the skin? How much reaches the tumor? The results of these studies will be important to determine if resveratrol might have any preventive and/or therapeutic value in human melanoma."

Only one previous study, published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2000, is known to have looked at the effects of resveratrol on melanoma. That study, which also used mice but examined several different flavonoids, found that while resveratrol "inhibited the growth of the mouse melanoma," it did not "decrease its metastatic or invasive potential."

In their Feb. 20 report, Niles and his colleagues wrote that one of the major reasons for their research is that melanoma "is increasing at an alarming rate." When skin cancer is diagnosed early, they added, the chance of survival is favorable, but if left unchecked, the cancer can spread to other organs, such as the eyes or lungs. "Later stages of the disease are difficult to treat and long-term survival is low," they added.

# # #

For a comprehensive look at the potential health benefits of drinking wine, check out senior editor Per-Henrik Mansson's feature Eat Well, Drink Wisely, Live Longer: The Science Behind a Healthy Life With Wine and The Case for Red Wine

Read more about resveratrol:

  • Feb. 4, 2002
    Red-Wine Extract Extends Shelf Life of Fruit

  • Nov. 7, 2002
    Red-Wine Compound to Be Tested As Anti-Cancer Drug

  • April 15, 2002
    Study Sheds New Light on How Red Wine May Help Fight Cancer

  • June 30, 2000
    Scientists Uncover Why Resveratrol May Help Prevent Cancer

  • Feb. 28, 1997
    Red Wine Contains Potential Anti-Cancer Agent

    Read more about the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption:

  • April 25, 2003
    Grape-Seed Extract to Be Tested for Effectiveness in Reducing Scars From Radiation Treatments

  • April 11, 2003
    Light to Moderate Drinking May Be Associated With Lower Rates of Dementia in Elderly, Says Study

  • Feb. 26, 2003
    New Research Sheds More Light on Link Between Drinking and Stroke Risk

  • Jan. 31, 2003
    French Scientists Develop White Wine That Acts Like a Red

  • Jan. 16, 2003
    Wine, Beer Wipe Out Ulcer-Causing Bacteria, Study Shows

  • Jan. 10, 2003
    Frequent Drinking Lowers Chance of Heart Attack, Study Shows

  • Jan. 7, 2003
    Drinking Has Little Effect on Risk of Lung Cancer, Research Finds

  • Dec. 24, 2002
    Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Be Better for Women's Hearts Than for Men's, Canadian Study Finds

  • Dec 23, 2002
    Moderate Wine Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Dementia, Study Finds

  • Nov. 7, 2002
    Red-Wine Compound to Be Tested As Anti-Cancer Drug

  • Nov. 5, 2002
    Drink to Your Health and Pour Some on the Counter, Too

  • Nov. 4, 2002
    Moderate Wine-Drinking May Help Prevent Second Heart Attack, French Study Finds

  • Aug. 31, 2002
    Wine Drinkers Have Healthier Habits, Study Reports

  • Aug. 22, 2002
    Red Wine Helps Keep Obese People Heart-Healthy, Study Finds

  • July 24, 2002
    Red Wine May Help Fight Prostate Cancer, Spanish Study Finds

  • June 11, 2002
    Wine Consumption, Especially White, May Be Good for the Lungs, Study Finds

  • June 3, 2002
    Moderate Drinking May Decrease Women's Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

  • May 15, 2002
    Wine Drinkers Less Likely to Catch Common Cold, Research Finds

  • April 15, 2002
    Study Sheds New Light on How Red Wine May Help Fight Cancer

  • Jan. 31, 2002
    Moderate Drinking May Be Good for the Brain, Not Just the Heart, New Study Finds

  • Jan. 31, 2002
    Wine Drinking May Reduce Risk of Dementia in Elderly, Italian Study Finds

  • Jan. 21, 2002
    English Scientists Claim to Crack French Paradox

  • Dec. 31, 2001
    New Study Sheds More Light on Antioxidants in Red Wine

  • Dec. 13, 2001
    Moderate Drinking Does Not Reduce Chance of Becoming Pregnant, Research Finds

  • Nov. 27, 2001
    Moderate Drinking Can Slow Hardening of Arteries, New Research Shows

  • Nov. 6, 2001
    Study Examines Drinking's Effect on Brain Health in Elderly

  • Aug. 15, 2001
    Wine Drinkers Smarter, Richer and Healthier, Danish Study Finds

  • April 25, 2001
    Chemical Compound Found in Red Wine May Lead to Treatment for Prostate Cancer

  • April 20, 2001
    Drinking Wine After a Heart Attack May Help Prevent Another, Study Finds

  • Jan. 9, 2001
    Wine Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Strokes in Women, Finds CDC Study

  • Sept. 30, 2000
    Wine May Have More Health Benefits Than Beer and Liquor

  • Aug. 7, 2000
    Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Reduce Women's Risk of Heart Disease, New Study Shows

  • July 25, 2000
    Harvard Study Examines the Role of Moderate Consumption in Women's Diets

  • June 30, 2000
    Scientists Uncover Why Resveratrol May Help Prevent Cancer

  • May 31, 2000
    Moderate Consumption Still Part of Healthy Diet

  • May 22, 2000
    Moderate Drinking May Lower Men's Risk of Diabetes, Study Finds

  • May 17, 2000
    European Study Links Wine Drinking to Lower Risk of Brain Deterioration in Elderly

  • May 12, 2000
    Wine May Increase Bone Mass in Elderly Women, Study Finds

  • Feb. 4, 2000
    Dietary Guidelines Committee Revises Recommendations on Alcohol

  • Dec. 17, 1999
    Moderate Drinking Can Cut Heart Attacks By 25 Percent

  • Nov. 25, 1999
    Study Finds Moderate Drinking Cuts Risk of Common Strokes

  • Nov. 10, 1999
    Study Points to Potential Benefits of Alcohol for Heart Patients

  • Jan. 26, 1999
    Moderate Alcohol Consumption Cuts Risk of Stroke for Elderly

  • Jan. 19, 1999
    Light Drinkers Face No Added Risk of Breast Cancer

  • Jan. 5, 1999
    New Studies Link Wine and Health Benefits

  • Oct. 31, 1998
    Here's to Your Health: Is it now "medically correct" for a physician to prescribe a little wine to lower the risk of heart disease?
  • Health News

    You Might Also Like

    Bordeaux Court Convicts Wine Merchant of Fraud

    Bordeaux Court Convicts Wine Merchant of Fraud

    Vincent Lataste faces six months in prison for illegally mislabeling and mixing wines; he …

    Jun 14, 2019
    First-Growths Arrive: 2018 Bordeaux Wine Futures Prices and Analysis

    First-Growths Arrive: 2018 Bordeaux Wine Futures Prices and Analysis

    Lafite has released its 2018 futures. Will the price be tempting enough for consumers?

    Apr 23, 2019
    Coffee No Longer Requires Cancer Warning in California

    Coffee No Longer Requires Cancer Warning in California

    The state's health-risk assessment agency concludes that chemicals in coffee do not pose a …

    Jun 11, 2019
    Surprise Late Donation Helps Destin Charity Wine Auction Raise $3.6 Million

    Surprise Late Donation Helps Destin Charity Wine Auction Raise $3.6 Million

    With the aid of a last-minute $1 million donation, the 14th-annual Florida Panhandle event …

    Jun 11, 2019
    A Piece of Paris Opens in San Diego Bay—See What's on the Menu

    A Piece of Paris Opens in San Diego Bay—See What's on the Menu

    Little Frenchie is Blue Bridge Hospitality's newest venture in California. Plus, chef Tim …

    Jun 6, 2019
    Trade War Is Hurting U.S. Wineries

    Trade War Is Hurting U.S. Wineries

    As the Trump administration fights over trade with China, Mexico and the E.U., winemakers …

    Jun 5, 2019




    Restaurant Search

    Restaurant Search