Flaxseed has the potential to decrease breast cancer tumor growth

June 20, 2008


Flaxseed is the richest source of mammalian lignans and it has previously been shown to reduce the growth of tumors in rats. This study examines, in a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial, the effects of dietary flaxseed on breast cancer markers in postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.

Researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital, University of Toronto gave 19 newly diagnosed women 25g of Flaxseed in a muffin and 13 women a placebo muffin for a little over a month. Tumor tissue was examined for the rate of cell growth and other important pathological factors at the time of diagnosis and again at the time of surgery. Lignan levels increased dramatically in the women on Flaxseed. The women on the Lignans had a decrease in breast cancer cell proliferation. Markers indicating a poor prognosis and resistance to treatment dropped when on the Lignan source and the Flax also caused breast cancer tumor cells to die. In conclusion the Flaxseed Lignan source has the potential to reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer. The study is published in the May 15th 2005 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

EGCG from Green Tea works well with Curcumin from Turmeric in breast cancer research

Both epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from Green Tea and Curcumin from Turmeric have shown efficacy in various in vivo and in vitro models of cancer. This study was designed by researchers from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Otago in New Zealand to determine the efficacy of these naturally derived polyphenolic compounds when given in combination. Studies in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells demonstrated that EGCG + Curcumin were synergistically cytotoxic and that this correlated with stopping the cycle of the cancer cells growth. After 12 hr, EGCG plus Curcumin were stifling the growth of the cells and this correlated to a 50% decrease in cell number compared to control; the combination weren’t just inhibiting the growth of the cancerous cells but was making them disappear. To determine if this lab result would translate to living beings, female mice lacking an immune system were implanted with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and treated with either Curcumin or EGCG separately, EGCG together with Curcumin, or vehicle control for 10 weeks. Tumor volume in the EGCG + Curcumin treated mice decreased 49% compared to vehicle control mice. Therefore, these results demonstrate that the combination of EGCG and Curcumin is efficacious in both in vitro and in vivo models of ERalpha- breast cancer. The study is published in the December 20th, 2007 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Phytonutrients in broccoli and soy found to prevent spread of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and even melanoma

Naturally occurring chemicals found in broccoli and soy may prevent the spread of breast cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers at UCLA and presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"We think these compounds might slow or prevent the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancer, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of current treatments," said Erin Hsu, a graduate student in molecular toxicology at UCLA.

Researchers applied DIM from broccoli, and Genistein, found in soy, to motile cancer cells and observed their effects. They found that the spread of cancer and the invasion of healthy cells were significantly reduced by the compounds.

This effect occurred because of DIM and Genistein’s effect on a compound produced by healthy cells that cancer cells are attracted to, thereby attracting the malignant cells to healthy organs. DIM and Genistein were found to reduce the production of this compound (CXCR4) in a manner directly proportional to the dose.

As a result, the movement toward the attractant in healthy cells was reduced by 80 percent in cancer cells treated with either of the plant compounds, compared with untreated cells. The researchers found the same effect when DIM or Genistein were applied to prostate cancer or melanoma cells.

Previous studies have indicated the cancer-preventive benefits of broccoli and soy, but this is one of the first to uncover part of the mechanism of that protection. The DIM and Genistein doses used in the UCLA study were probably higher than could be achieved through diet alone, the researchers said, meaning that nutritional supplementation would be required to achieve these medicinal effects.

Women who lack the ability to detoxify properly may be protected from breast cancer by cruciferous vegetables

Cabbage family vegetables (Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) provide ingredients that stimulate detoxification in our body improving the ability of our liver to neutralize and remove dangerous chemicals, drugs, and substrates. A cooperative effort by scientists from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, and researchers in Shanghai compared the intake of cabbage family vegetables and their ability to reduce the number of women who develop breast cancer specifically in women who have a gene impairment. This impairment leaves them with faulty glutathione detoxification related to a specific major and protective detoxification enzyme known as GSTP1. Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme in our body and many major detoxification mechanisms rely on glutathione.
The researchers analyzed data on 3035 women with breast cancer and compared them to 3037 women without cancer. The women were participants in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Diet and genetic data were completed for 87% of cancer cases and 85% of healthy control subjects.
With analysis it was found that a defect in genes that promote Glutathione related detoxification (the GSTP1 Val/Val gene) was significantly associated with a 150% increased risk of developing breast cancer; the women fail to detoxify specific toxins that damage the breast. The association was significantly greater in premenopausal women with a 169% increased risk whereas in postmenopausal women there was a 120% increased risk. Subjects with the gene defect who reported eating greater amounts of white turnip and Chinese cabbage had a significantly lower postmenopausal breast cancer risk; both of these vegetables are cruciferous. Women with the genetic challenge to detoxification who didn’t eat cabbage related vegetables had a 174% increased risk of breast cancer development and if they were premenopausal with the gene defect and did not consume these vegetables their risk of breast cancer jumped by 208%. The study is published in the March 2008 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.