Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Primrose oil component cuts levels of cancer-causing gene Her-2/neu

02.11.2005


Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a substance in evening primrose oil and several other plant oils used in herbal medicine, inhibits action of Her-2/neu, a cancer gene that is responsible for almost 30 percent of all breast cancers, Northwestern University researchers report.



"Breast cancer patients with Her-2/neu-positive tumors have an aggressive form of the disease and a poor prognosis," said Ruth Lupu, director of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Breast Cancer Translational Research Program, who led the study, published in the Nov. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Lupu is professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a researcher at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.


Lupu and co-investigator Javier Menendez showed that treating cancer cells that overexpressed Her-2/neu with GLA not only suppressed protein levels of the oncogene, but also caused a 30- to 40-fold increased response in breast cancer cells to the drug HerpetinTM (trastuzumab), a monoclonal antibody that is used for the treatment of many women with breast cancer.

Menendez is research assistant professor of medicine at Feinberg and a scientist at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute.

"In our tests, treating the cancer cell lines with both GLA and Herceptin led to a synergistic increase in apoptosis [cell death] and reduced cancer growth. Therefore, although further studies are necessary before GLA can enter clinical trials, these findings may reveal a previously unrecognized way of influencing the poor outcome of Her-2/neu-positive cancer patients," Lupu said. "GLA’s inhibition of Her-2/neu works in a different manner from that of Herceptin," Menendez said.

"While Herceptin attempts to neutralize thousands of Her-2/neu molecules commonly found in the surface of overexpressing cancer cells, GLA would be more efficient to reduce Her-2/neu levels by preventing the transcription of few Her-2/neu gene copies," Menendez said. "Considering that activation and overexpression of the Her-2/neu oncogene are crucial events in the cause, progression and cell sensitivity to various treatments in breast cancer, results of the study showed reveal a valuable means by which an inexpensive herbal medicine might regulate might regulate breast cancer cell growth, metastasis formation and response to chemotherapies and endocrine therapies," Lupu said.

GLA exerts selective toxic effects on cancer cells without affecting normal cells. Menendez’s earlier research showed that supplementation with GLA sensitizes breast cancer cells to some chemotherapeutic drugs, such as paclitaxel (TaxolTM), docetaxel (TaxotereTM) and vinorelbine (NavelbineTM). Lupu and Menendez recently demonstrated that GLA also enhances the efficacy of anti-estrogens, such as tamoxifen and FaslodexTM.

"Since overexpression of Her-2/neu generally confers resistance to chemo- and endocrine therapies, our current findings can explain why GLA increases the efficacy of breast cancer treatments," Menendez said.

GLA is one of two essential fatty acids – fats that are necessary for maintaining normal functioning and growth of cells, nerves, muscles and organs. Besides evening primrose oil, other sources of GLAs include borage oil and black current seed oil.

Besides Menendez, other authors on the study were Luciano Vellon, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute; and Ramon Colomer, head of the medical oncology division at the Institut Catala d’Oncologia, Girona, Spain.

Elizabeth Crown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>