New York: A natural compound found in herbs such as parsley and vegetables like celery and broccoli could reduce the breast cancer risk for women who have undergone hormone replacement therapy, researchers from University of Missouri have found.
The team from University of Missouri-Columbia found that as human breast cancer cells develop, they tend to take on stem cell-like properties which can make them harder to kill.
Here, the natural compound luteolin was used to monitor stem cell-like characteristics of breast cancer cells and the team saw a vast reduction in this phenomenon, further proving that the natural compound exerts its anti-tumour effects in a variety of ways.
In most circumstances, hormone replacement therapies improve the lives of menopausal women and achieve excellent results.
“Nevertheless, research has proven that a higher incidence of breast cancer tumours can occur in women receiving therapies that involve a combination of the natural component estrogen and the synthetic progestin,” explained Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed professor in tumour angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences.
Most older women normally have benign lesions in breast tissue.
These lesions typically don't form tumors until they receive the 'trigger' -- in this case progestin - that attracts blood vessels to cells essentially feeding the lesions causing them to expand.
The new study shows that when the supplement luteolin is administered to human breast cancer cells in the lab, benefits can be observed including the reduction of those vessels "feeding" the cancer cells causing cancer cell death.
Hyder further tested laboratory mice with breast cancer and found that blood vessel formation and stem cell-like characteristics also were reduced in vivo or inside the body.
“We feel that luteolin can be effective when injected directly into the bloodstream, so IV supplements may still be a possibility,” Hyder noted.
The early-stage results of this research are promising.
“If additional studies are successful within the next few years, the university officials will request authority from the federal government to begin human drug development.
The research was published in the journal Springer Plus.