Pomegranate compounds may ease breast cancer risk

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 5, 2010 5:10pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Enzyme-blocking chemicals in pomegranates may reduce the risk of estrogen-fueled breast cancers, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

An acid found in pomegranates appears to block aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen, a hormone that plays a role in the development of breast cancer, the researchers wrote in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

"We identified some of these chemicals in pomegranates that actually have properties that can suppress aromatase," researcher Shiuan Chen, of the City of Hope cancer research and treatment center in Duarte, California, said in a telephone interview.

Many women who have had breast cancer take medicines called aromatase inhibitors -- such as Pfizer's Aromasin, Novartis' Femara and AstraZeneca Plc's Arimidex -- to keep estrogen from feeding tumors.

Chen and colleagues studied whether compounds, or phytochemicals, in pomegranates can suppress aromatase and ultimately block cancer growth. They found that 10 natural compounds in the fruit may potentially prevent estrogen-related breast cancer.

Chen said the compounds would not be a replacement for aromatase inhibitors.

"We do not recommend people start taking this as a replacement for the AI's," Chen said. "They (pomegranate compounds) are not as potent as the real drugs so we think that the interest probably is more on the prevention end rather than in a therapeutic purpose."

Other researchers not associated with the study told the journal that the results are promising, and suggested more studies involving animals and humans were needed to confirm the findings.

"It's not clear that these levels could be achieved in animals or in humans because the (compounds) are not well absorbed into blood when provided in the diet," said Gary Stoner of Ohio State University.

Dr. Powel Brown, an oncologist at the University of Texas, said in a statement that future studies should focus on testing pomegranate juice for its effect on estrogen levels, menopausal symptoms, breast density or even as a cancer preventive agent.

More than 400,000 women die from breast cancer globally every year. About 75 percent of breast cancers are estrogen-receptor positive, meaning they are fed by estrogen.

Previous research has shown that pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants -- vitamins and other substances -- that may help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. (Editing by Xavier Briand)

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Comments (3)
HealingNews wrote:
This verifies what many of us experienced in natural and holistic remedies have known for a long time. Realize that the natural source [unprocessed] works better in most cases, and in conjunction with other raw, unprocessed organic produce. http://www.BreastHealing.info

Jan 05, 2010 11:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
PHytoDoc wrote:
This has been known for some time. In a 2007 study on a commercial concentrate of pomegranate called bio quench by scientists at Stanford it was shown that the supplement had significant pro apotosis and cell cycle arrest properties. Bio Quench also induced DNA repair that resulted in longer life span and better heart health for the subjects of the study

Jan 06, 2010 7:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
mdspatsy wrote:
Very good article on health point of view.
I have advised many females to take Pomegranate fruit,its pulp and its juice on daily basis for prevention breast cancer at any stages.
Thanks for publishing good findings and its uses for our health.

Jan 07, 2010 11:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
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