Onionin A (ONA), a natural compound derived from onions, contains many anti-ovarian cancer properties. Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan discovered the anti-ovarian cancer properties of ONA. They analyzed the effects of Onionin A on a preclinical model of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) both in vivo and in vitro to discover its anti-cancer properties. The same group of researchers have earlier found out that Onionin A suppressed pro-tumor activation of host myeloid cells.
As per a 2014 review of cancer medicines from the World Health Organization, EOC has a 5-year survival rate of approximately 40% and it is the most common ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk of EOC is relatively low, that is, less than 1%. But the risk can climb up to 40% if there is a family history of the disease. A highly effective treatment is required to treat ECO, since eighty percent of patients experience a relapse after their initial treatment with chemotherapy.
Effects of ONA On EOC
The researchers discovered that ONA has many effects on EOC. EOC proliferate with the help of pro-tumor M2 macrophages, but the growth of EOCs were inhibited by Onin. This was due to ONA's effect on STAT3. STAT3 is a transcription factor and is involved in both cancer cell growth and M2 polarization.
In addition to this, the researchers also found out that ONA inhibited the pro-tumor functions of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) by using preclinical sarcoma model. These cells are highly connected with the suppression of anti-tumor immune responses of host lymphocytes. ONA also strengthen the anti-proliferation capabilities of anti-cancer drugs. Furthermore, experiments on an ovarian cancer murine model which investigated the effects of orally administered ONA showed longer lifespan and inhibited ovarian cancer development. This was due to ONA’s suppression of M2 polarized macrophages.
According to the study, ONA showed multiple effects on EOC. It minimized the progression of malignant ovarian cancer tumors by interfering with the pro-tumor function of myeloid cells. ONA can activate anti-tumor immune responses by removing the immunosuppressive function of myeloid cells. ONA enhanced the existing anti-cancer drugs while also having little to no cytotoxic effects on non-cancerous cells. Moreover, side effects in animals have not been seen. After a few rounds of testing, an oral ONA supplement should benefit cancer patients.