"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Can Quercetin Help Prevent Pancreatic Cancer?

Eating a diet full of quercetin-rich foods may help prevent pancreatic cancer.

This cancer is particularly lethal because it is difficult to detect at an early stage, it is aggressive and tends to reoccur and spread via the peritoneal cavity (particularly to the liver), and it is resistant to treatment. Of the small percentage of those who are able to have the cancer surgically removed, only about 20% survive for 5 years. Given this grim outlook, data from a number of studies suggesting that quercetin and other polyphenols may act as chemopreventive and therapeutic agents for pancreatic cancer is a promising area of research.60

An epidemiological cancer prevention study conducted in Finland between 1985 and 2004 involving over 27,000 male smokers in good health noted a link between higher dietary flavonoids (including quercetin) and decreased risk for pancreatic cancer.61 Subsequent lab experiments on human pancreatic cancer cells and animal studies also demonstrated the following:60

  • Quercetin inhibited tumor growth both in the lab on the pancreatic cancer cell line Panc02 and in mice with tumors induced by this cell line.
  • Quercetin promoted pancreatic cancer cell self-destruction (apoptosis) in a laboratory setting.
  • Quercetin inhibited cancer cells from passing through the membrane barrier that separates living cells from the nonliving structural extracellular matrix (ECM), preventing them from infiltrating surrounding tissue and metastasizing.
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