Studies have shown that berry anthocyanins—found in tart cherries—can switch off genes involved in the multiple pathways of cancer.
These include genes for cell proliferation and inflammation, and for angiogenesis(the growth of new blood vessels that feed a tumor).
Anthocyanins can also trigger apoptosis, the programmed cell death that causes pre-cancerous cells to self-destruct.64,66
These studies establish that anthocyanins work through a network of mechanisms to promote a broad spectrum of natural anticancer protection. And because there is a unique synergy among the anthocyanins and phenolic acids in tart cherries, scientists have been investigating them for their anticancer benefits.7
In mice, a diet of tart cherries inhibited both the incidence and size of adenomas (benign tumors) of the cecum, an area at the beginning of the large intestine that is a common site for colon cancer. In the same study, the growth ofhuman colon cancer cell lines was shown to be reduced by tart cherry anthocyanins.67
Finally, in 2011, a review of past studies concluded that cherries exert a variety of anti-carcinogenic effects.