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Nutr Cancer. 2013;65(5):746-64. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2013.796999.

Molecular size fractions of bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) exhibit differentiated regulation of colorectal cancer cell growth in vitro.

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CSIRO Preventative Health National Research Flagship, Food and Nutritional Sciences, Werribee, Victoria, Australia.


Numerous in vitro studies using solvent or aqueous extracts of raw dietary plant material have demonstrated modulation of colon cancer cell growth and apoptosis and effects on immune and nonimmune pathways of inflammation. We have developed a generic, 3-staged food-compatible process involving heating for conversion of dietary plants into food ingredients and report results on potential colon cancer-regulating properties of processed forms of Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis). In vitro studies demonstrated inhibition of cancer cell growth by processed Bay leaf products in HT-29, HCT-116, Caco-2, and SW-480 human cancer cell lines, which were accompanied by variable levels of elevated apoptosis. Bay leaf also exerted moderate inhibition of cycloxygenase 2 and 5 lipoxygenase enzymatic activity. In addition, these extracts significantly downregulated interferon-γ production in T helper Type 1-stimulated whole blood from healthy donors. Furthermore, size fractionation of the extracts revealed that antiproliferative and proapoptotic activities were associated with low mass (primarily polyphenolics and essential oils) and high mass (primarily proteins including polyphenol oxidase) chemical classes, respectively. Bay leaf exerted in vitro bioactivity that might be relevant to protecting against early events in sporadic colorectal cancer, with potential for further optimization of bioactivity by size-based fractionation.

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