University of Oulu

Onali, T.; Kivimäki, A.; Mauramo, M.; Salo, T.; Korpela, R. Anticancer Effects of Lingonberry and Bilberry on Digestive Tract Cancers. Antioxidants 2021, 10, 850.

Anticancer effects of lingonberry and bilberry on digestive tract cancers

Saved in:
Author: Onali, Tuulia1,2,3; Kivimäki, Anne1,2; Mauramo, Matti4;
Organizations: 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Medical Nutrition Physiology, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3Translational Immunology Research Program (TRIMM), University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
5Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
6Medical Research Centre, Oulu University Hospital, 90014 Oulu, Finland
7Human Microbiome Research Program, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-23


Wild berries are part of traditional Nordic diets and are a rich source of phytochemicals, such as polyphenols. Various berry treatments have shown to interfere with cancer progression in vitro and in vivo. Here, we systematically reviewed the anticancer effects of two Nordic wild berries of the Vaccinium genus, lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), on digestive tract cancers. The review was conducted according to the PRISMA 2020 guidelines. Searches included four databases: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and CAB abstracts. Publications not written in English, case-reports, reviews, and conference abstracts were excluded. Moreover, studies with only indirect markers of cancer risk or studies with single compounds not derived from lingonberry or bilberry were not included. Meta-analysis was not performed. The majority (21/26) of studies investigated bilberry and colorectal cancer. Experimental studies on colorectal cancer indicated that bilberry inhibited intestinal tumor formation and cancer cell growth. One uncontrolled pilot human study supported the inhibitory potential of bilberry on colorectal cancer cell proliferation. Data from all 10 lingonberry studies suggests potent inhibition of cancer cell growth and tumor formation. In conclusion, in vitro and animal models support the antiproliferative and antitumor effects of various bilberry and lingonberry preparations on digestive tract cancers.

see all

Series: Antioxidants
ISSN: 2076-3921
ISSN-E: 2076-3921
ISSN-L: 2076-3921
Volume: 10
Issue: 6
Article number: 850
DOI: 10.3390/antiox10060850
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3122 Cancers
Funding: The authors acknowledge the funders of this study: Cancer Society of Finland, Sigrid Jusélius Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (