Skip to main content recently reported that lab tests at Texas AgriLife Research have shown that peach and plum extracts can kill breast cancer cells—even in their most aggressive forms. Not only did the study show that cancer cells were destroyed, it also showed that the surrounding healthy cells were not harmed by the treatment.

Published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, the study reports that two organic phenolic compounds are responsible for destroying the cancerous cells. The two compounds– chlorogenic and neochlorogenic—are slightly acidic and may be associated with traits such as taste, color or aroma. The phenolic compounds are common in other fruits; however, peaches and plums have much higher 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,” reported plant breeder forAgriLife Research, Dr. David Byrne. “Here, there is a five-fold 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.”

Dr. Byrn and his colleague, Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, had previously studied the antioxidants and phytonutrients in plums. The findings concluded that plums had equal or more of both nutrients compared to blueberries, which were previously considered the richest fruit in both nutrients. According to Cisneros Zevallos, the “Rich Lady” peach and the “Black Splendor” plum were to two types of fruits used in the study.

The findings shed light on the possibility of new breast cancer treatments that are more effective and less harmful to the body. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for cancer; however, it has an extensive list of side effects and can weaken the immune system considerably.

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer accounts for 16% of female deaths globally and that 194,000 new cases were reported nationwide in 2009.

Even though more research is needed, this study is an important advancement in the ongoing fight against breast cancer.