How Resveratrol helps combat breast cancer
Tuesday, October 11, 2011. The October 11, 2011 issue of the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal reports the finding of Italian and U.S. researchers of an ability for resveratrol to inhibit the growth-promoting effects of estrogen in breast cancer cells. Resveratrol occurs in red grapes and wine, and is believed to be one of the compounds responsible for the' health benefits associated with consuming these foods.
"An accumulation of data has shown that the anticancer properties of resveratrol are related to its ability to down-regulate NF-kB [nuclear factor kappa-beta] activation, to cause cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, or to trigger apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell lines," write Sebastiano Andò of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Calabria and his associates in their introduction to the article. "Recent data show induction of apoptosis [programmed cell death] by resveratrol through MAPK-mediated p53 activation. Also, resveratrol binds specifically to several peptides such as breast cancer-associated antigen, breast cancer resistance protein, death-associated transcription factor, and estrogen receptors and can exert either estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects depending on the concentration."
The team evaluated the effects of resveratrol in several estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cell lines, including cells that are resistant to treatment with the estrogen receptor antagonist drug tamoxifen. They observed a reduction in the proliferation of treated cells compared to cells that were not treated with resveratrol. Further experimentation revealed that resveratrol significantly lowered the cells' estrogen receptor levels in addition to acting via other mechanisms to inhibit their growth.
"Resveratrol is a potential pharmacological tool to be exploited when breast cancer become resistant to the hormonal therapy," stated Dr Andò.
Although FASEB Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerald Weissmann, MD, does not recommend that breast cancer patients drink wine in an attempt to treat their disease, he predicted that "Scientists haven't finished distilling the secrets of good health that have been hidden in natural products such as red wine."
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