COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Consuming peaches and plums may help ward off breast cancer, according to new findings by Texas AgriLife Research that showed breast cancer cells died after treatments with peach and plum extracts in lab tests.
The researchers compared normal cells to two types of breast cancer, including the most aggressive type. The cells were treated with an extract from two commercial varieties, the "Rich Lady" peach and the "Black Splendor" plum.
A closer look at the extracts determined that two specific phenolic acid components—chlorogenic and neochlorogenic—were responsible for killing the cancer cells while not affecting the normal cells. The two compounds are very common in fruits, the researchers said, but the stone fruits such as plums and peaches have especially high levels.
"It was a differential effect which is what you're looking for because in current cancer treatment with chemotherapy, the substance kills all cells, so it is really tough on the body," said Dr. David Byrne, AgriLife Research plant breeder who studies stone fruit. "Here, there is a fivefold difference in the toxic intensity. You can put it at a level where it will kill the cancer cells—the very aggressive ones—and not the normal ones."