Blueberry as a Potential Radiosensitizer for Treating Cervical Cancer


Cervical cancer (CC) is a leading cause of death in women worldwide. Radiation therapy (RT) for CC is an effective alternative, but its toxicity remains challenging. Blueberry is amongst the most commonly consumed berries in the United States. We previously showed that resveratrol, a compound in red grapes, can be used as a radiosensitizer for prostate cancer. In this study, we found that the percentage of colonies, PCNA expression level and the OD value of cells from the CC cell line SiHa were all decreased in RT/Blueberry Extract (BE) group when compared to those in the RT alone group. Furthermore, TUNEL+ cells and the relative caspase-3 activity in the CC cells were increased in the RT/BE group compared to those in the RT alone group. The anti-proliferative effect of RT/BE on cancer cells correlated with downregulation of pro-proliferative molecules cyclin D and cyclin E. The pro-apoptotic effect of RT/BE correlated with upregulation of the pro-apoptotic molecule TRAIL. Thus, BE sensitizes SiHa cells to RT by inhibition of proliferation and promotion of apoptosis, suggesting that blueberry might be used as a potential radiosensitizer to treat CC.

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This study was supported by grants from Des Moines University for Yujiang Fang, M.D., Ph.D. (IOER 05-14-01 and IOER 112-3749). Kristoffer T. Davidson was supported by Mentored Research Program from Des Moines University (IOER 112-3113).

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Correspondence to Yujiang Fang.

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Davidson, K.T., Zhu, Z., Bai, Q. et al. Blueberry as a Potential Radiosensitizer for Treating Cervical Cancer. Pathol. Oncol. Res. 25, 81–88 (2019).

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  • Blueberry extract
  • Radiation
  • Apoptosis
  • Cervical cancer