Moreover, the research discovered that lupeol has about three times more anti-cancer effectiveness than the commonly used chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin. And when lupeol is used together with cisplatin, the latter's ability to shrink tumors is increased an astounding 40 times.
The scientists who conducted the study speculated that only a minimal change in diet could provide a remarkable benefit in the treatment of cancers of the head and neck, with which they were most concerned, such as those of the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx and thyroid and salivary glands.
The biggest contributions to such cancers, which have one of the lowest five-year survival rates, they said, include alcohol, smoking, a fruit- and vegetable-poor diet, and sexual diseases caused by human papillomavirus. And another contribution is public ignorance of what elements in what foods are able to protect against cancer.
The researchers were pleased with the outcome of their work, because it seems to open the door to a promising treatment alternative to the usual risky and disfiguring approach to head and neck cancers, namely, surgical intervention. A team is now being assembled from Hong Kong University's Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Science for further research into development of lupeol into clinically applicable anti-malignancy drugs.