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Grain and berry phytoestrogens may affect cancer risk through the estrogen signalling system

Can dietary phytoestrogens play a role in reduction of breast cancer risk? This is one of the crucial questions for a research project dealing with a subgroup of phytoestrogens called lignans, conducted within the CASCADE Network of Excellence. Lignans are naturally found in grains, berries and vegetables.

Recent CASCADE research has shown that lignans affect the estrogen signalling system. Earlier results by several research groups have shown that lignans delay or inhibit mammary tumour growth in experimental models, but their mechanism of action was unclear. These new CASCADE findings shed light on the process.

“Estrogens are key players in breast cancer development and progression. Our current findings show that dietary lignans can interact with the estrogen signalling system, and may therefore have a potential to affect breast cancer risk” says Professor Sari Mäkelä, CASCADE researcher and professor at University of Turku.

The effects of certain food components on disease risks are of major interest, as the new EU regulations on health claims in foods will soon be finalized. CASCADE research will hopefully contribute to this development through further studies on the effects of phytoestrogens on cancer. This is in line with CASCADE’s mission to provide reliable information for consumers and authorities on endocrine active compounds in foods.

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CASCADE, coordinated by Karolinska Institutet, will present this phytoestrogen research at a large event in Brussels organised by the European Commission on December 12, 2006 called “Food Quality and Safety Research: First Results from FP6”. Speaker is CASCADE researcher Professor Sari Mäkelä, University of Turku.

For more information, please contact:
Cecilia Johansson, Communication/Dissemination Manager, CASCADE Network Office, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: +46 8 608 92 37
Mobile: +46 702 544 657

Cecilia Johansson | alfa
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