Red Wine Compound Increases Anti-tumor Effect of Rapamycin

Toll-Free: 866.320.4573

Call Us Toll Free:

866.223.2273 x1234

Rapamycin-Resveratrol Treatment Promotes Activity against Breast Cancer

February 15, 2011

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute have discovered that resveratrol – a compound found in red wine – when combined with rapamycin can have a tumor-suppressing effect on breast cancer cells that are resistant to rapamycin alone.

The research – recently published in Cancer Letters – also indicates that the PTEN tumor-suppressing gene contributes to resveratrol’s anti-tumor effects in this treatment combination.

Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, led her team to study the effect of combining resveratrol, a chemopreventive drug found in many natural compounds, with rapamycin on breast cancer cells. The research demonstrates an additive effect between these two drugs on breast cancer cell signaling and growth.

“Rapamycin has been used in clinical trials as a cancer treatment. Unfortunately, after a while, the cancer cells develop resistance to rapamycin,” Eng said. “Our findings show that resveratrol seems to mitigate rapamycin-induced drug resistance in breast cancers, at least in the laboratory. If these observations hold true in the clinic setting, then enjoying a glass of red wine or eating a bowl of boiled peanuts – which has a higher resveratrol content than red wine – before rapamycin treatment for cancer might be a prudent approach.”

Rapamycin, an immunosuppressant drug used to prevent rejection in organ transplantation, has been considered for the use of anti-tumor activity against breast cancer. Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol that is found in the skin of red grapes and is a constituent of red wine, and has been considered for multiple uses regarding cellular therapies.

Despite the potential for tumor suppression, rapamycin’s efficacy with respect to growth inhibition differs markedly among various breast cancer cell lines. The effect of resveratrol and rapamycin, alone and in combination, on cell growth of three human breast cancer cell lines was assessed. Rapamycin, resveratrol, and combinations of these agents inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. In all three cell lines tested, the presence of low concentrations of resveratrol and rapamycin was sufficient to induce 50 percent growth inhibition. Although relatively early, these observations may suggest resveratrol as a powerful integrative medicine adjunct to traditional chemotherapy.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,100 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. In addition to its main campus, Cleveland Clinic operates nine regional hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2012, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2009, there were more than 4.6 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 170,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org.

Media Contact

Dan Doron, dorond@ccf.org, 216.312.0428,
Tracy Wheeler, wheelet2@ccf.org, 216.444.4235


Cleveland Clinic Mobile Site