Tag Archives: HNSCC

Research Suggests Magnolia Flower Could Be the Cure To Cancer | The Paleo Diet

For many, the magnolia tree/shrub is known and grown for its beautiful, showy, sweet-smelling flowers. Yet, within this beauty, lays an even greater treasure, the cure to head and neck cancers.1 According to a breakthrough study by researchers in Alabama, a phytochemical honokiol, offers a chemotherapeutic effect on a form of cancers in this region known as head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. This means it stops the growth of cancerous tumors, and may be as effective as chemotherapy, without the rigors and harsh side effects.2

BACKGROUND

Head and neck squamous carcinomas (HNSCC) are common cancers seen globally,3 with an increased prevalence in men and people over the age of 50.4 Certain cancers in this region like the brain, eye, esophagus, thyroid gland, scalp, skin muscles, and bones are not usually classified as head and neck cancers.5 Alcohol and tobacco use are the biggest risk factors, but other factors include salted or preserved foods, poor oral health, human papillomavirus (HPV), and Chinese ancestry.6

CURRENT THERAPIES

While improved technology has revolutionized traditional therapies, this has not been reflected in the overall survival rate of HNSCC. For over the past 30 years, the mortality rate has stayed a constant 50%, with no sign of decreasing.7 Current forms of treatment include normal chemotherapy, as well as surgical resection, which remove the tumor.8 Notwithstanding these can be toxic to the body, increasing drug resistance, and impairing the individual’s ability to speak and swallow.9 Thus, seeking alternative and adjunct therapies is beneficial and a much needed necessity. A valuable treatment method should guarantee better patients’ outcomes, enhanced quality of life, as well as lower levels of drug toxicity.

Previous research has targeted epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).10 What exactly is EGFR you may ask? A protein found on the cell surface, which binds to epidermal growth factor (EGF), to stimulate cell growth, differentiation and maturation. Binding to EGFR brings on receptor dimerization and tyrosine autophosphorylation, basically undergoing mechanisms that result in cell proliferation.11 Overexpression of EGFR is seen in a large majority of HNSCC (90%), and has been linked with worsened clinical outcomes of patients with HNSCC.12 This makes sense as increased numbers of EGFR will provide ample amount of cancerous cell growth and proliferation. This has been the focus of both approved and investigational drugs, which have fared poorly as a result of drug toxicity and resistance.13 This has led to the search for natural and effective options that exist around us such as phytochemicals like honokiol.

WHAT IS HONOKIOL?

Honokiol comes from the bark and leaves of the Magnolia plant. Past studies explored its various biological and pharmacological behaviors, which include anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic.14 Basically, honokiol appears to be the perfect remedy for cancer. Previous work has indicated so for other types of cancers, such as skin, breast, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and prostate.15

BENEFITS OF HONOKIOL IN HNSCC

So what is all the hoopla about honokiol and HNSCC, you may be wondering. Well from the results of the study, increased dosage of honokiol resulted in decreased viability of HNSCC cells.16 Further reduction was seen over time in cells that had been treated with honokiol. Increased apoptosis or cell death was observed in HNSCC cells that received the honokiol treatment.17 Honokiol led to the decrease of cyclins and cdk, which are cell cycle regulations and enable the proliferation and growth of the HNSCC cells.18 Additionally honokiol led to the inhibition of the prized EGFR, and proved to be nontoxic on mice.19 Furthermore it inhibited the growth of HNSCC tumor xenograft cells in mice.20 Honokiol was also linked with lower levels of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xl and higher levels of pro-apoptotic protein Bax.21 In simple terms, honokiol is like the commander in the army, reducing the weaker members of the team and bringing out the best team to fight, destroy, and end the war.

CONCLUSION

One of the most convincing pieces of evidence not listed above is that honokiol had a much tighter bind with EGFR, when compared with Ceftuximab and getfitinib, which are widely used in treating HSNCC.22 This suggests the likelihood of better efficacy and a more improved chemotherapeutic effect, without the negative effects.

It is important to remember that while the results of this study is quite promising, it has not yet been proven in the human population. Nevertheless it will offer you much perspective the next time you observe the beauty of the Magnolia flower in nature. In addition, given the risk factors such as alcohol, tobacco use, and salted food, one cannot help but appreciate the huge benefit of healthy quality living that a Paleo lifestyle offers.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Singh, T., Nirzani, G., Xu, S., Prasad, R., Sadanandan, V., & Katiyar, S. (2015, May). Honokiol inhibits the growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by targeting epidermal growth factor receptor. Oncotarget, 1-15.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Head and Neck Cancers. (2013, February 1). Head and Neck Cancers. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from National Cancer Institute: //www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck/head-neck-fact-sheet

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Singh, T., Nirzani, G., Xu, S., Prasad, R., Sadanandan, V., & Katiyar, S. (2015, May). Honokiol inhibits the growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by targeting epidermal growth factor receptor. Oncotarget, 1-15.

[8] Gellrich, N., Schimming, R., Schramm, A., Schmalohr, D., Bremerich, A., & Kugler, J. (2002). Pain, function and psychologic outcome before, during, and after intraoral tumor resection. J Oral Maxillofac Surg, 60, 772-777.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Wheeler, S., Egloff, A., Wang, L., James, C., Hammerman, P., & Grandis, J. (2015, February 6). Challenges in EGFRvIII Detection in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. PLoS One, 10(2), 1-13. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117781

[11] Ibid.

[12] Grandis, J., Melhem, M., Gooding, W., Day, R., Holst, V., Wagener, M., . . . Tweardy, D. (1998). Levels of TGF-α and EGFR protein in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and patient survival. J Natl Cancer Inst, 90, 824-832

[13] Leeman-Neill, R., Cai, Q., Joyce, S., Thomas, S., Bhola, N., Neill, D., . . . Grandis, J. (2010, May 1). Honokiol inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor signaling and enhances the antitumor effects of epidermal growth factor receptor. Clin Cancer Res, 16(9), 2571–2579. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-0333

[14] Singh, T., Nirzani, G., Xu, S., Prasad, R., Sadanandan, V., & Katiyar, S. (2015, May). Honokiol inhibits the growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by targeting epidermal growth factor receptor. Oncotarget, 1-15.

[15] Leeman-Neill, R., Cai, Q., Joyce, S., Thomas, S., Bhola, N., Neill, D., . . . Grandis, J. (2010, May 1). Honokiol inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor signaling and enhances the antitumor effects of epidermal growth factor receptor. Clin Cancer Res, 16(9), 2571–2579. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-033.

[16] Singh, T., Nirzani, G., Xu, S., Prasad, R., Sadanandan, V., & Katiyar, S. (2015, May). Honokiol inhibits the growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by targeting epidermal growth factor receptor. Oncotarget, 1-15.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

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