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Being of Finnish/Saami origin, I am a great coffee lover. When I first got home from the hospital after having breast cancer surgery my husband offered to make me a lovely latte. But strangely, what I wanted, craved for instead, was celery. This craving was much like those I had many years ago when I was pregnant. I needed it now! And I wanted it with V8 juice.
We had a bit of V8 juice left in the fridge. My darling Robert poured it into a glass and brought it to me, but it still needed more celery. He rummaged through the fridge and found a small, rather wilted piece of celery and added it to my glass of V8 juice. Nope, needed more celery. He found some celery salt in the spice drawer. I quickly glugged it all down. And still wanted more. Robert went to the corner shop and bought some more V8 and fresh celery. I drank several glasses before I felt satisfied.
Later I started to think about that, and wonder why celery? I got onto google and googled celery and cancer:
“Preventing cancer. Celery contains a flavanoid called luteolin. Researchers believe that luteolin may possess anti-cancer properties. A study published in Current Cancer Drug Targets said that “Recent epidemiological studies have attributed a cancer prevention property to luteolin.” Health benefits and risks of celery
So then I started to look for scientific research articles that have examined the effects of luteolin on cancer to see if there is any basis for this.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Although I wasn’t quite sure what type of breast cancer this was, the doctor thought it was probably Triple Negative Breast Cancer, based on the core biopsy that had been done the week before srugery. Triple Negative doesn’t have a good prognosis for recovery, because the cancer cells don’t have the hormone receptors that work with most of the current chemo treatments that are available.
These receptors are normally ER+ (estrogen)
HER2+ (Hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2)
In my case, all these were Negative. ER-, PR- HER2-
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
So in my google research I decided to look for the effect of luteolin on Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). I did find a few encouraging articles, suggesting that I may be on the right track – perhaps foods can help to treat this almost incurable disease.
From what I can understand, it is thought that luteolin has some effect on preventing or slowing down the ability of cancer cells to spread to the lungs or other parts of the body.
Luteolin inhibits lung metastasis, cell migration, and viability of triple-negative breast cancer cells
“Most breast cancer-related deaths from triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) occur following metastasis of cancer cells and development of tumors at secondary sites. Because TNBCs lack the three receptors targeted by current chemotherapeutic regimens, they are typically treated with extremely aggressive and highly toxic non-targeted treatment strategies. Women with TNBC frequently develop metastatic lesions originating from drug-resistant residual cells and have poor prognosis. For this reason, novel therapeutic strategies that are safer and more effective are sought. Luteolin (LU) is a naturally occurring, non-toxic plant compound that has proven effective against several types of cancer….Our findings show that LU effectively suppresses the viability of TNBC cells and blocks their metastasis to the lungs.”
Luteolin is a novel p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) inhibitor that suppresses Notch4 signaling by blocking the activation of Y-box binding protein-1 (YB-1)
“Herein, we identified the off-patent compound luteolin, has the novel ability to block RSK/YB-1/Notch4 signaling and thereby inhibit TNBC growth including TIC-enriched populations. Since RSK has recently been identified as a TNBC-specific target, we focused on screening for compounds that have the ability to block RSK activity. We used a dual approach of high-throughput and virtual screening, as these are complementary methods that can be integrated to improve inhibitor discovery . Notably, both screening techniques identified kaempferol, luteolin and apigenin that inhibited RSK1 and RSK2 at micromolar concentrations. Subsequent experiments identified luteolin as the lead compound as it suppressed growth in TNBC and inhibited RSK in cells. Consequently, it reduced phosphorylation of YB-1 and decreased Notch4 signaling, both of which are key pathways in sustaining TICs.
RSK2 is an emerging therapeutic target for developing treatments for TNBC, for which there are currently no targeted therapies available . Our group identified that RSK2 specifically has the most potent inhibitory effect on growth in TNBC . Furthermore, we propose that RSK inhibitors could have application beyond breast cancer to include other tumors that express high RSK2 such as those that develop in the lung, head and neck, prostate and hematopoietic system .”
I am a weaver. I am not an expert on any of this and don’t pretend to be. I was fortunate to be employed in an administrative role in the field of medical research for a few years, so developed a bit of skill in reading through research proposals so am familar with a few of the terms and what to look for in complex and technical scientific summaries and abstracts.
None of the information that I am writing about is to be construed as providing medical advice. Please contact your doctor and oncologist for advice regarding your condition.
Every cancer is different. I am merely documenting my own cancer journey as I try to figure out best decisions and solutions for myself.
V8 Juice Recipe – My Fortified version
I purchased a juicer and I now make a V8 juice that has extra goodness added.
2-3 sticks of Celery
2-3 Beets (cooked or raw)
Handful of Parsley leaves
Handful of Spinach
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Mix this half and half with V8 Vegetable Juice.
Other Foods containing Luteolin
Below are links and books that have helped me with my cancer journey so far.
Chris Beat Cancer
Anticancer: A New Way of Life