Raspberries may protect against esophageal cancer




Cancer Research

Related Monographs

Consumer Data:
Professional Data:


There are two main types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Both types are equally prevalent in the United States. The cause of esophageal cancer is unknown, but researchers believe that some of the underlying factors may be viral infections or long-term irritation of the esophagus, such as Barrett's esophagus or achalasia (inability for lower portion of the food pipe to relax.). Contributing risk factors are gender, age, and medical history. Esophageal cancer generally occurs over the age of 60, and men are more likely to get this disease than women. Patients with a history of head and neck cancer have an increased likelihood of developing esophageal cancer.1

Treatments for cancer of the esophagus include, radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, but now researchers are beginning to look at the nutritional regime for possible prevention and treatment. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been associated with a decrease in digestive tract cancers in several animal studies. A recently published study looked at the effects of raspberries on esophageal cancer in rats. This particular study took place at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Rats were placed on a diet that included 5 to 10% black raspberries continuously for 2 weeks, prior to receiving an injection of NMBA, a cancer-causing compound. This combination was continuously administered throughout a 30-week period. The end-result indicated that rats that had eaten the most raspberries had 49% fewer tumors than the control group, which had been given the NMBA without the raspberries.

During the second part of this study, rats were injected with the NMBA first, and then administered the black raspberries up to 30 weeks later. Compared to the control group, the rats that received a diet of 5% raspberries following injection, demonstrated a significant reduction in tumor incident, tumor size, and lesion formation. The authors concluded, "dietary administration of LBRs [raspberries] inhibited events associated with both the initiation and promotion/progression stages of carcinogenesis, which is promising considering the limited number of chemopreventives with this potential."2


1. National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health. Cancer of the Esophagus. 1999. Publication Number 00-1557.
2. Kresty LA, et al.Chemoprevention of Esophageal Tumorigenesis by Dietary Administration of Lyophilized Black Raspberries. Cancer Research. Aug 2001;61:6112-6119.