Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name



Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Smiti Gupta


Pancreatic cancer (paca) is currently the fifth causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It’s an aggressive form of cancer with very low survival rates because of delayed diagnosis and limited treatment options. Gemcitabine is the chemotherapy drug that provides minimal benefits along with many side effects. The aim of this study was to examine the in vitro effects of oil palm phenolics (OPP) fraction-5, the water-soluble component of palm oil, in human pancreatic cancer cell models. Two pancreatic cancer cell lines (Panc-1 and BxPC-3) were categorized into control and treatment groups. The control group received cell culture media and the treatment groups received different concentrations of OPP. A statistically significant P<0.05) dose-dependent decrease in cell viability was observed in both cell lines after the addition of OPP by MTS assay.

Furthermore, a significant decrease in cell invasion and migration was seen in both cell lines when compared to untreated controls. Because OPP showed a decrease in cell proliferation, invasion, and migration, RT-PCR was used to determine the molecular pathways behind the above observations by testing the expression of both the mTOR and BCL-2 genes. A dose-dependent decrease was observed in MTOR AND BCL-2 proteins. Also, OPP showed an inhibition of the NF-KB pathway.

Thus, the data in this study signifies the role of OPP as a potential therapeutic agent against the progression of pancreatic cancer and warrants further studies to investigate OPP as a potential safe, natural therapeutic agent to treat PACA.