We’re busy reviewing the evidence on resveratrol. While we’re working, we share the summary from our predecessor website, Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies.

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Resveratrol

Summary

Resveratrol’s main contribution regarding cancer is in optimizing your body terrain—reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that are known to support cancer development and growth. It’s used widely in integrative programs.

Resveratrol has shown limited anticancer action in clinical studies. Animal studies show resveratrol may reduce toxicity to the heart from doxorubicin and protect the lining of the digestive system from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Resveratrol is found in grape skins and seeds, peanuts and other foods but is usually used as a supplement. Supplements are generally low-cost and widely available.

Cautions are noted about interactions with a few prescription drugs. Before using resveratrol, consult your oncology team about interactions with other treatments and therapies. Also make sure resveratrol is safe for use with any other medical conditions you may have.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Treating Cancer

Direct clinical effects are limited, and mostly seen in colorectal cancer so far.

Preclinical evidence of anticancer effects—prohibits cancer growth, promotes cell death, prevents cell migration and sensitizes tumor cells to chemotherapy drugs—in brain, breast, colon, lung, ovarian, prostate and thyroid cancers

Optimizing Your Body Terrain

Cancer thrives on out-of-balance features of your body terrain: oxidation, inflammation, immunity, glycemia and more. See Body Terrain and the Tumor Microenvironment.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anti-oxidant effects
  • Increased insulin sensitivity in animals
  • Protects cells from damage from radiation and some carcinogenic chemicals
  • All evidence to date is from lab and animal studies.

Managing Side Effects

  • Prevents toxicity to the heart from doxorubicin in animals
  • May protect the lining of the stomach (gastric mucosa) against side effects from use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Reducing Cancer

  • Reduces some markers of colorectal cancer in clinical studies

Use by Integrative Oncology Experts

  • Substantial use by integrative practitioners
  • See Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems below

Safety

  • Generally safe, although some interactions are noted with a few prescription drugs, including antiplatelet drugs, cytochrome P450 substrates and carbamazepine
  • Caution has been noted with some breast cancer subtypes, although only in preclinical studies

Affordability and Ease of Access

  • Resveratrol supplements are widely available in drug stores, at generally low cost (less than $500/year)

Details and Evidence

  • Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a group of compounds thought to act as antioxidants in the body, reducing oxidative stress.
  • Although grape skin and seeds are rich in resveratrol, and red wine is a natural source, it is usually consumed as a dietary supplement. Other food sources of resveratrol include peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa and dark chocolate.

Treating the Cancer

Working against cancer growth or spread, improving survival, or working with other treatments or therapies to improve their anticancer action

Clinical Evidence

  • Increased markers of cell death (apoptosis) in cancerous liver tissue in patients with colorectal cancer and liver metastases1
  • Reduced tumor cell proliferation by 5 percent in a small study of colorectal cancer patients2

Lab and Animal Evidence

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Optimizing Your Terrain

Creating an environment within your body that does not support cancer development, growth or spread

Lab and Animal Evidence

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Managing Side Effects and Promoting Wellness

Managing or relieving side effects or symptoms, reducing treatment toxicity, supporting quality of life or promoting general well-being

Lab and Animal Evidence

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Reducing Risk

Reducing the risk of developing cancer or the risk of recurrence

Clinical Evidence

  • Resveratrol inhibited a major risk factor for colon cancer development in normal linings of the colon (colonic mucosa) but did not inhibit colon cancer in a small study of colon cancer patients.27

Lab and Animal Evidence

Click or tap to open.

Cautions

The “About Herbs” description of resveratrol cautions patients with hormone-sensitive cancers about using resveratrol supplements. However, while resveratrol exhibits estrogen-like properties, neither of its metabolites do, and so metabolized resveratrol from foods does not display estrogen-mimicking activity in the body.30  Some clinicians actually suggest using resveratrol supplements in some estrogen-influenced cancers, such as uterine.31

Resveratrol promoted tumor growth and proliferation in luminal B breast cancer subtype models in mice32 and perhaps in other subtypes33

Resveratrol is generally well tolerated, although high doses can cause gastrointestinal disturbance. Resveratrol should not be used in conjunction with a few prescription drugs, including antiplatelet drugs, cytochrome P450 substrates and carbamazepine. Patients using any of these medications should consult a medical professional before using resveratrol.

Access

Resveratrol supplements are widely available in drug stores at generally low cost.

Dosing

CancerChoices does not recommend therapies or doses, but only provides information for patients and providers to consider as part of a complete treatment plan. Patients should discuss therapies with their physicians, as contraindications, interactions and side effects must be evaluated.

Levels of active ingredients of natural products can vary widely between and even within products. See Quality and Sources of Herbs, Supplements and Other Natural Products.

Dosage recommendations are available from these sources:

Integrative Programs, Protocols and Medical Systems

  • Alschuler & Gazella complementary approaches34
    • Colon cancer
    • Thyroid cancer
    • Uterine cancer
  • Bastyr University Integrative Oncology Research Center protocol for stage IV breast cancer35
  • Block program36
    • Remission-support diet
    • Anti-inflammatory terrain modifier
    • Combination circulatory support supplement
    • Progression pathway target modifier
    • Molecular target modifier
    • Remission maintenance program (detoxification)
  • Lemole, Mehta & McKee protocols37
    • Breast cancer
    • Colorectal cancer
    • Lung cancer
    • Lymphoma
    • Melanoma
    • Prostate cancer
  • McKinney protocols38
    • Breast cancer
    • Multiple myeloma
    • Ovarian cancer
    • Thyroid cancer

Note: CancerChoices has not conducted an independent review of research of resveratrol. This summary draws from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s About Herbs and other sources as noted.

Resources

References

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  2. Patel KR, Brown VA et al. Clinical pharmacology of resveratrol and its metabolites in colorectal cancer patients. Cancer Research. 2010 Oct 1;70(19):7392-9.
  3. Jiang Z, Chen K et al. Resveratrol and cancer treatment: updates. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2017 Sep;1403(1):59-69; Zhang L, Wen X, Li M, Li S, Zhao H. Targeting cancer stem cells and signaling pathways by resveratrol and pterostilbene. Biofactors. 2018 Jan;44(1):61-68; Salehi B, Mishra AP et al. Resveratrol: a double-edged sword in health benefits. Biomedicines. 2018 Sep 9;6(3). pii: E91.
  4. Yousef M, Vlachogiannis IA, Tsiani E. Effects of resveratrol against lung cancer: in vitro and in vivo studies. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 10;9(11). pii: E1231.
  5. Shin HJ, Hwang KA, Choi KC. Antitumor effect of various phytochemicals on diverse types of thyroid cancers. Nutrients. 2019 Jan 9;11(1). pii: E125.
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  12. Chen H, Jin ZL, Xu H. MEK/ERK signaling pathway in apoptosis of SW620 cell line and inhibition effect of resveratrol. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. 2016 Jan;9(1):49-53.
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  14. Schneider Y, Duranton B et al. Resveratrol inhibits intestinal tumorigenesis and modulates host-defense-related gene expression in an animal model of human familial adenomatous polyposis.Nutrition and Cancer. 2001;39(1):102-7; Cui X, Jin Y et al. Resveratrol suppresses colitis and colon cancer associated with colitis. Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia). 2010 Apr;3(4):549-59.
  15. Santandreu FM, Valle A, Oliver J, Roca P. Resveratrol potentiates the cytotoxic oxidative stress induced by chemotherapy in human colon cancer cells. Cell Physiology and Biochemistry. 2011;28(2):219-28.
  16. Fajardo AM, Piazza GA. Chemoprevention in gastrointestinal physiology and disease. Anti-inflammatory approaches for colorectal cancer chemoprevention. American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. 2015 Jul 15;309(2):G59-70.
  17. Zykova TA, Zhu F et al. Resveratrol directly targets COX-2 to inhibit carcinogenesis. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 2008 Oct;47(10):797-805.
  18. Ramírez-Garza SL, Laveriano-Santos EP et al. Health effects of resveratrol: results from human intervention trials. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 3;10(12). pii: E1892.
  19. Rossi EL, Khatib SA et al. Resveratrol inhibits obesity-associated adipose tissue dysfunction and tumor growth in a mouse model of postmenopausal claudin-low breast cancer. Molecular Carcinogenesis. 2018 Mar;57(3):393-407.
  20. Chen CY, Kao CL, Liu CM. The cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation of bioactive phytochemicals targeting the tlr4 signaling pathway. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018 Sep 12;19(9). pii: E2729.
  21. Fajardo AM, Piazza GA. Chemoprevention in gastrointestinal physiology and disease. Anti-inflammatory approaches for colorectal cancer chemoprevention. American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. 2015 Jul
  22. Fischer N, Seo EJ, Efferth T. Prevention from radiation damage by natural products. Phytomedicine. 2018 Aug 1;47:192-200.
  23. Xiao Q, Zhu W et al. A review of resveratrol as a potent chemoprotective and synergistic agent in cancer chemotherapy. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2019 Jan 9;9:1534.
  24. Novelle MG, Wahl D, Diéguez C, Bernier M, de Cabo R. Resveratrol supplementation: where are we now and where should we go? Ageing Research Reviews. 2015 May;21:1-15.
  25. Gu J, Hu W, Zhang DD. Resveratrol, a polyphenol phytoalexin, protects against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 2015 Oct;19(10):2324-8; Lou Y, Wang Z. et al. Resveratrol prevents doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in H9c2 cells through the inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress and the activation of the Sirt1 pathway. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 2015 Sep;36(3):873-80.
  26. Xiao Q, Zhu W et al. A review of resveratrol as a potent chemoprotective and synergistic agent in cancer chemotherapy. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2019 Jan 9;9:1534.
  27. Nguyen AV, Martinez M et al. Results of a phase I pilot clinical trial examining the effect of plant-derived resveratrol and grape powder on Wnt pathway target gene expression in colonic mucosa and colon cancer. Cancer Management and Research. 2009 Apr 3;1:25-37.
  28. Reddivari L, Charepalli V et al. Grape compounds suppress colon cancer stem cells in vitro and in a rodent model of colon carcinogenesis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016 Aug 9;16:278.
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  30. Ruotolo R, Calani L et al. Anti-estrogenic activity of a human resveratrol metabolite. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovasc Diseases. 2013 Nov;23(11):1086-92.
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