Oregon: Hops, the flower of the Humulus lupulus plant, have been used as a flavouring and stabilising agent in beer for over 300 years. But recent tests conducted by the Oregon State University have revealed that the compounds found in the plant can possibly kill liver and colon cancer cells.
Nearly 20 years ago, scientists found potential cancer-fighting properties in the plant’s compound called xanthohumol, also known as XN. But now researchers have discovered two more derivatives within the XN, having similar cancer-fighting properties, reported the DailyMail.
The two derivatives, called DXN and TXN, could possibly be more potent than the original XN compound itself. “XN had been shown to inhibit proliferation of a variety of cancer cell lines,” said Professor Adrian Gombart, the lead researcher in the study. “And in this study, we demonstrated XN's ability to halt cell growth and kill two liver cancer cell lines and two colon cancer cell lines,” he said.
XN is a source of phytoestrogen, a chemical similar to the female sex hormone oestrogen. Phytoestrogen is found in plants and is effective in fighting hormonal cancers such as ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
The compound XN could also be harmful to the body. Oral consumption of XN and its derivatives is shown to lead to high concentrations in the liver and gut. It's chemical phytoestrogen can also cause hormonal imbalance and fertility issues.
The enzymes present in the liver are powerful enough to break down the most potent phytoestrogens, said Professor Gombart. But the research published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences shows that the derivative compounds DXN and TXN do not metabolise into phytoestrogens.
The tests conducted by Oregon State University showed that DXN and TXN could more efficiently inhibit cancer cells. “'In all the cell lines tested, DXN and TXN inhibited cell growth and caused cell death, as did XN. And for most cell types, DXN and TXN were slightly more potent,” said Professor Gombart.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cause of cancer-related deaths and has been on the rise over the last decade. Cases of liver cancer have tripled in the last four decades in the US.
“Thus, for both of those cancers, discovering new compounds for prevention and treatment is imperative,” Professor Gombart said. “Studies have already shown DXN and TXN have the potential to reduce weight gain,” Professor Gombart added....