Ingredient in beans and nuts blocks tumor growth

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Research suggests that inositol pentakisphosphate (IPKP) – found in everyday foods such as beans, nuts, and cereals – can slow the development of cancerous tumors. A research team from University College of London (UCL) reported that in tests on mice, IPKP inhibited the enzyme phosphoinositide 3-kinase, which plays a key role in stimulating the growth of tumors. Earlier in vitro assays support these latest in vivo findings.

The researchers are planning to conduct a human clinical trial to confirm these observations and are working on synthesizing more of the compound for additional testing. The results of this study support the view that a healthy diet should include ample servings of beans, nuts, lentils, and peas.

Nuts and beans have already been shown to contain other chemoprotective agents such as resveratrol, quercetin, and campferol. Nuts are particularly rich in resveratrol, a powerful inhibitor of cancer cells. It is possible that the multiple chemoprotective agents in these foods may act synergistically.

The UCL researchers also reported on a synergy between IPKP and anti-cancer drugs. IPKP was found to enhance the effect of cytotoxic drugs in ovarian and lung cancer cells. It is hypothesized that IPKP sensitizes cancer cells to the commonly used anti-cancer drugs. While many chemopreventive or chemical drug enhancers possess toxicity of their own, the investigators reported that IPKP was non-toxic even at high concentrations.