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Pomegranate Suppresses the Growth of Breast Cancer

Pomegranate is gaining widespread acceptance as a cardio-friendly nutrient that is also anti-cancer. In this study researchers showed that pomegranate can reduce the influence of hormones to provoke breast cancer cell proliferation, leading the authors to conclude that pomegranate compounds “have potential for the prevention of estrogen responsive breast cancers.”

Pomegranate contains nutrients that influence the aromatase enzyme. When this enzyme is reduced then breast cancer is much less likely. “Phytochemicals suppress estrogen production that prevents the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen responsive tumors,” said principal investigator Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., director of the Division of Tumor Cell Biology and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.

Chen, along with Lynn Adams, Ph.D., a research fellow at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, and colleagues, evaluated whether or not phytochemicals in pomegranates can suppress aromatase and ultimately inhibit cancer growth.

After screening and examining a panel of 10 ellagitannin-derived compounds in pomegranates, the investigators found that those compounds have the potential to prevent estrogen-responsive breast cancers. “We were surprised by our findings,” said Chen. “We previously found other fruits, such as grapes, to be capable of the inhibition of aromatase. But, phytochemicals in pomegranates and in grapes are different.”

According to Gary Stoner, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Ohio State University, additional studies will be needed to confirm these results. Until then, Stoner said people “might consider consuming more pomegranates to protect against cancer development in the breast and perhaps in other tissues and organs.”