Panzeri D, et al. Food Funct 2020.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common types of cancer, especially in Western countries, and its incidence rate is increasing every year. In this study, for the first time Vigna unguiculata L. Walp. (cowpea) water boiled seed extracts were found to reduce the viability of different colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines, such as E705, DiFi and SW480 and the proliferation of Caco-2 line too, without affecting CCD841 healthy cell line. Furthermore, the extracts showed the ability to reduce
the level of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) phosphorylation in E705, DiFi and SW480 cell lines and to lower the EC50 of a CRC common drug, cetuximab, on E705 and DiFi lines from 161.7 ng mL-1 to 0.06 ng mL-1 and from 49.5 ng mL-1 to 0.2 ng mL-1 respectively. The extract was characterized in its protein and metabolite profiles by tandem mass spectrometry and 1H-NMR analyses. A Bowman-Birk protease inhibitor was identified within the protein fraction and was supposed to be the main active component. These findings confirm the importance of a legume-based diet to prevent the outbreak of many CRC and to reduce the amount of drug administered during a therapeutic cycle.