Digital News Report – Pomegranates can reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to researchers in the United States. For thousands of years people knew the pomegranate held medicinal value, but today scientists tell us that anti-aromatase phytochemicals found in the fruit reduces the incidence of hormone-dependent breast cancer.
Native to Iran but found all over the world now, the pomegranate contains compounds known as ellagitannins that appear to be responsible for the anti-proliferative effect of the pomegranate.
These phytochemicals suppress estrogen production. This prevents the growth of estrogen-responsive breast cancer tumors too.
Previous research has shown that pomegranate juice — punica granatum L — is high in antioxidant activity, which is generally attributed to the fruit’s high polyphenol content. Ellagic acid found in pomegranates inhibits aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen. Aromatase plays a key role in breast carcinogenesis; therefore, the growth of breast cancer is inhibited.
“This is an in vitro study in which relatively high levels of ellagitannin compounds were required to demonstrate an anti-proliferative effect on cultured breast cancer cells,” said Gary Stoner, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Ohio State University, who is not associated with this study. “It’s not clear that these levels could be achieved in animals or in humans because the ellagitannins are not well absorbed into blood when provided in the diet.”
By: Jason Chang
Powel Brown, M.D., Ph.D., medical oncologist and chairman of the Clinical Cancer Prevention Department at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
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.
Common mispellings: pomergranate pumegranite pumergranite