This Little-known Chemical can Prevent and Treat Cancer

What is it about fresh fruits and vegetables that make them so good for us? Can nature’s bounty really be that tuned in to what the human body and mind needs to stay healthy?

Well, as it turns out… yes.

The longer researchers study plants, fruits and vegetables the more phytonutrients, plant-based chemicals proven to have health benefits for humans, they discover.

These phytonutrients can be used as plant-based treatments for various conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer.

One of these chemicals in particular is showing great promise in treating a variety of cancers…


Continued below…

I’m referring to the chemical fisetin, a flavonal that belongs in the flavonoid group of polyphenols.

Flavonoids exhibit a range of biological properties including antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and immune-stimulating.(1)

Other flavonoids include chemicals previously covered in this newsletter such as quercetin, kaempferol, and catechins.

Fisetin is found in many plants, fruits and vegetables and acts as a coloring agent. Once eaten, however, it can have a powerful effect on the body, chewing up free radicals, reducing inflammation and destroying cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.


Chemopreventive effects of fisetin

Researchers are interested in how fisetin works when eaten and how its chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic properties can be synthesized to create new treatment options for cancer.

The body better tolerates organic compounds and can be taken for longer periods of time without any adverse side effects. They’re also found in abundance in the natural world, which provides a steady supply.

Research shows that fisetin can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by altering the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).(2)

Below is a small sampling of the research.


Lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, and metastatic lung cancer is the cause of more than 90% of deaths related to lung cancer.(3)

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that fisetin inhibited the migration and invasion of A549 cells, a particular kind of lung cancer cell.

Fisetin also interfered with the cells’ signaling ability, which further reduces the spreading and metastasis of the cancer. These facts lead the researchers to conclude that fisetin plays a significant role in reducing invasion and migration of these deadly cells.(4)

A hydrocarbon called benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] plays a key role in lung carcinogenesis caused by tobacco smoke.(5)

Research published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology shows that treatment with fisetin “significantly reduced” the degree of lesions in the lungs and increased antioxidant levels in B(a)P-induced mice.

Fisetin also showed an anti-proliferation effect against the lung cancer cells, reducing the spread of the disease.(6)


Colon cancer

A lot of research has been done around flavonoids and colon cancer because colon cancer is one such type of cancer where dietary modification has been well-documented to play an important role in reducing the risk of carcinogenesis.(7)

It makes sense that what a person eats would affect their colon, right?

A common cause of colon cancer is the overexpression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) and uncontrolled signaling pathways. A 2009 study found that treatment with fisetin on the overexpressing cells resulted in apoptosis and downregulating of COX2 protein expression.

The activity of the signaling pathways also decreased, thereby decreasing the spread of the cancer cells.(8)


Prostate cancer

Research shows an inverse relationship between the amount of flavonoid intake and prostate cancer risk. An example of this is that the East Asian diet is high in flavonoids and men in China and Japan have the lowest incidence of prostate cancer worldwide.(9)

Fisetin in particular has shown antiproliferative and cell cycle arresting properties when applied to prostate cancer cells.(9)

In addition to that fisetin has also shown promise in regulating the signaling pathways that run out of control in prostate cancer, as well as inducing programmed cell death.(10)


Other cancers

In much the same ways as mentioned above (inducing apoptosis, regulating cell signaling pathways), fisetin has shown promise in treating pancreatic cancer(11), melanoma(12) and gastric cancers.(13)


How to increase fisetin intake with food and supplements

Now that we’ve seen how beneficial this flavonoid is, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can get more of it in your diet.

Fisetin is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables such as

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mangoes
  • Apples
  • Persimmon
  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Cucumber


The skins of these foods contain high levels of fisetin, so whenever possible be sure to eat these foods whole.

When eating the skins of fruits and vegetables your best bet is to buy organic, especially any food on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list (a list of the foods most contaminated by chemical and industrial pesticides). Strawberries, apples and grapes are all on the list.(14)

Fisetin is also available in supplements. Most doses are around 100 mg per day, and you shouldn’t need more than that.

I haven’t found any adverse effects of getting too much fisetin in the research, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that more is better.

So if you go the supplement route, buy high quality from a brand you trust and follow the dosage directions.

And, of course, be sure to eat your organic fruits and vegetables for good overall health and reduced cancer risk.


Best Regards,

Lee Euler



  1. Fisetin: A dietary antioxidant for health promotion.
  2. Dietary flavonoid fisetin for cancer prevention and treatment.
  3. Lung cancer: Epidemiology, etiology, and prevention.
  4. Involvement of the ERK signaling pathway in fisetin reduces invasion and migration in the human lung cancer cell line A549.
  5. Benzo(a)pyrene induced lung cancer: Role of dietary phytochemicals in chemoprevention.
  6. Fisetin, a novel flavonol attenuates benzo(a)pyrene-induced lung carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice.
  7. Fisetin: A dietary antioxidant for health promotion.
  8. A plant flavonoid fisetin induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells by inhibition of COX2 and Wnt/EGFR/NF-kappaB-signaling pathways.
  9. Novel antiproliferative flavonoids induce cell cycle arrest in human prostate cancer cell lines.
  10. Fisetin induces autophagic cell death through suppression of mTOR signaling pathway in prostate cancer cells.
  11. Fisetin, a natural flavonoid, targets chemoresistant human pancreatic cancer AsPC-1 cells through DR3 mediated inhibition of NF-κB.
  12. Inhibition of human melanoma cell growth by dietary flavonoid fisetin is associated with disruption of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and decreased Mitf levels.
  13. Fisetin inhibits cellular proliferation and induces mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in human gastric cancer cells.
  14. Dirty Dozen.