Anti-cancer and anti-oxidant effects of wheatgrass on human leukemia cells

Antiproliferative, apoptotic and antioxidant activities of wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum L.) extract on CML (K562) cell line

Aydos, OS., Avci, A., Özkan, T. KARADAĞ, A., Gürleyik, E., Altinok, B., Sunguroğlu, A., Turk J Med Sci, 41(4): 657-663, 2011.

Background:  Wheatgrass extracts are known to contain anti-cancer factors as well as antioxidant factors.  This was a study that sought to examine these activities in a human chronic myeloid leukemia cell line, K562.

Laboratory Studies:  The researchers treated the cell line, K562, with both water and alcohol extracts of wheatgrass.  They used a number of different approaches to see the effects that the wheatgrass extract had on this type of leukemia—they looked at the cells under a microscope to see if the extract could kill the cells; they assessed the cell line to see if the cells could still reproduce; they tested to see if the DNA of the cells was fragmented—an indication that the cells were dying.

Conclusions:  The wheatgrass extract (both the water and the alcohol preparations) were able to decrease the vitality of the cells by 14% (water-extract) and by 39% (alcohol-extract).  The researchers also found a significantly increased anti-oxidant activity in both the water and alcohol preparations.  They also concluded that both water and alcohol extracts of wheatgrass were able to increase the rate of cell death in this human leukemia cell line, and that wheatgrass extracts showed promise as an anti-cancer agent.