Grapeseed during chemotherapy

Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD
Last Modified: January 27, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I am considering taking grapeseed during chemotherapy. Are there studies that show whether the antioxidants in grape seed are beneficial in my situation?

Thank you, any help or direction would be appreciated.  


Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD, registered dietitian at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

I'm assuming you want to take grape seed extract for its antioxidant effects which may be beneficial in preventing cancer. However, there is potential that grape seed's antioxidant activity may interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapies. These therapies produce oxidizing free radicals and their action could be limited by the presence of antioxidants, which as the name implies are antagonist to the oxidative process.

Studies assessing the affect of antioxidants on chemotherapy have been limited to test tube and animal studies, and the results have been conflicting. Part of the problem is that the different antioxidants vary in how they interact with the chemotherapeutic agents.

While antioxidants have many health benefits pre and post cancer treatment, we are cautious about using them during treatment because the potential for diminishing the benefit of the treatment exists.

Reference: Labriola D. Livingston R: Possible interactions between dietary antioxidants and chemotherapy. Oncology 13(7):1003-1011. 1999.