Black Raspberries Reduce Colorectal Inflammation and Polyps

Several studies presented during the 2008 Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research found black raspberries had a positive impact on colorectal cancer development.

Freeze-dried berries reduced the inflammation that contributes to colorectal cancer in both humans and mice, the number of tumors in mice, and new rectal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.  After treatment with berries, levels of proteins that control inflammation were reduced in patients with colorectal cancer.

Black Raspberries Reduce Colon Tumors in Mice

Patients with ulcerative colitis are at increased risk to develop colorectal cancer, probably because of excessive inflammation in their intestinal tracts.  Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago and Ohio State University in Columbus experimented with mice who were bred missing an important anti-inflammatory signalling molecule (cytokine) interleukin-10.  All the mice developed an inflammation of their colons (colitis).

Beginning when the mice were four weeks old, the researchers added 5 percent or 10 percent concentrations of freeze-dried black raspberry powder to the animals’ diets.  After 23 weeks,

  • 10 out of 14 mice (71 percent) who had a normal diet with no berry supplements developed colorectal cancer tumors.
  • 5 out of 13 (38 percent) who had 5 percent concentration of berry power in their food developed tumors.
  • 4 out of 13 (31.8 percent) who were fed the 10 percent concentration developed tumors.

In addition, the black raspberry powder significantly reduced colon inflammation, ulcers, and changes in the colon lining of the mice.

Led by Jie Liao, the team concluded that black raspberries had the potential to prevent inflammation-related development of colon cancer.

Raspberries Reduce Colon Polyps in FAP Patients

Patients with an inherited colon cancer called familial adenomatous polyposis develop hundreds, sometimes thousands, of polyps in their colons and rectums.  Without intervention, all FAP patients will develop colorectal cancer, usually by the age of 40.  Standard treatment for FAP is surgical removal of the colon with regular surveillance of the rectum and removal of rectal polyps.

Fourteen FAP patients whose colons had been removed were treated with black raspberries.  Seven drank black raspberry powder in water every day for nine months.  They also used two black raspberry suppositories in their rectums at bedtime.  Another seven drank a placebo, but inserted the suppositories.

Rectal polyps were counted at the beginning of treatment and nine months later.  The entire group had a median 43 percent reduction in polyp count.  Those who used both the drink and the suppositories had greater reductions in polyps of 59 percent, compared to 36 percent in those who had a placebo drink.

Tissue was collected from both polyps and the crypts lining the colon that is being analyzed to find out what molecular mechanisms are at the bottom of the reductions.

Gary Stoner and his colleagues conducted the research at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Increased Anti-inflammatory Proteins after Black Raspberry Treatment

Colorectal cancer patients, who had not received any treatment for their cancer, drank a mixture of freeze-dried black raspberries in water for two to four weeks.  Blood samples were collected before they began and at the end of treatment.

Levels of two proteins associated with controlling inflammation — interleukin 1 beta and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) — were increased in patients blood after drinking the berry mixture.

Measuring the two plasma proteins may show that berry treatment is working.  More research is underway to find out if diet changes that include the black raspberries leads to death of cancer cells (apoptosis), reduced cell division and tumor growth (cell proliferation), or inhibition of blood vessel development (angiogenesis).

Research was conducted by RoyceLynn Mentor-Marcel  and scientists at the National Cancer Institute and Ohio State University.

I appreciate the AACR Scientist <-> Survivor Program which enabled me  to attend the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting and learn more about research into the potential benefits of black raspberries and meet the scientists who are studying them.


  1. Laurie says

    Hope you will consider surgery! My 43 year old sister had her colon with 2 large tumors removed 3 years ago because of FAP and yesterday she was honored with an award for inspiring others in front of thousands of her peers as an competitive athlete. Today, I sent her some freeze dried black raspberries! Hope you help yourself and let others help you!

  2. Laurie says

    Dear Julie Allen,
    A company in Oregon called Nutri-Fruit sells freeze dried black raspberry powder in canisters for around $30. Their website address is Also, the Stokes Berry Farm at who donate 6,000 lbs of berries annually to cancer research, sell powder to the public. Right now they are taking phone orders only: 937-382-4004. Their website has many interesting articles under “Cancer Research” on the menu. I found this information searching “black raspberries” and “FAP and black raspberries” on the internet.
    Laurie Herber,

  3. Mark Mandel says

    I am not a doctor, but I’m also not restricted by the rules that prevent the researchers here from offering medical advice. And the answer to your question is, black raspberries will almost certainly NOT stop your tumor from growing. In this study, the treatment reduced the growth of POLYPS, not TUMORS.

    I read this site because my wife had emergency colon surgery last year. Thank G-d, she is still alive and fairly healthy. And I’m telling you, DON’T PUT OFF THE SURGERY! It will not be pleasant, but it may save your life.

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely old age.” Don’t throw your life away.

  4. Kate Murphy says

    We don’t know where to tell you find freeze-dried berries. The research has been done with powered freeze-dried berries either dissolved in water or made into a suppository.

    It is important to note that these studies in humans were done in people with a very high risk of polyps. We cannot say that berries either prevent or treat all colon cancers.

  5. Julie Allen says

    Where do I find black rapspberries? Can I buy them whole (I haven’t seen them in regular stores either fresh or frozen)? Has all research been conducted with the freeze-dried powder??? Thanks.

  6. says

    1 on dec 1999 i observed asmall blood point in stool
    2 on jun 2002 i observed blood in stto
    3 i visited doctor for several times he recomend scopy
    4 i refuse t do scopy
    5 on dec 2008 blood come more and moe with stool
    6 at te end of dec 2008 i done scopy
    7 they found tumor in colon
    8 really i dont want t make syrgery
    9 my question could blackraspberry stop tumor from growth
    best regards
    yaqoub alhussaini

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