Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

US and Spanish research team uncovers the science behind the breast cancer protective effect of olive oil

10.01.2005


US researchers have uncovered reasons why the Mediterranean diet, with its high intake of oleic acid-rich olive oil, seems to protect against breast cancer. They have also found evidence that oleic acid may have a future role in treatment. The findings are reported today (Monday 10 January) in Annals of Oncology[1].



The researchers have demonstrated in a series of laboratory experiments on breast cancer cell lines that oleic acid dramatically cuts the levels of an oncogene called Her-2/neu (also known as erb B-2). High levels of Her-2/neu occur in over a fifth of breast cancer patients and are associated with highly aggressive tumours that have a poor prognosis.

Not only did oleic acid suppress over-expression of the gene, other tests on the cell lines showed that it also boosted the effectiveness of trastuzumab (Herceptin), the monoclonal antibody treatment that targets the Her-2/neu gene and has helped to prolong the lives of many breast cancer patients.


Lead researcher, Dr Javier Menendez, assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and a research scientist with the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, said: "Our findings underpin epidemiological studies that show that the Mediterranean diet has significant protective effects against cancer, heart disease and ageing."

The strongest evidence that monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid may influence breast cancer risk comes from studies of southern European populations, but animal research to date has thrown up inconsistent results, possibly because olive oil has been administered as a mixture of several fatty acids and other natural protections and not on its own.

"To our knowledge this is the first report that a dietary monounsaturated fatty acid previously suggested to be protective against breast cancer significantly down-regulates the expression of Her-2/neu, cutting it by up to 46%. Her-2/neu is one of the most important oncogenes in breast cancer," said Dr Menendez. "Moreover, in our tests, oleic acid’s inhibition of Her-2/neu synergistically interacted with Herceptin-based immunotherapy by promoting the death of breast cancer cells exhibiting high levels of the oncogene.

"Additionally, alongside the sensitising effect of oleic acid on the efficacy of Herceptin we found it increased the expression of a protein (p27Kip1), a tumour suppresser protein, which is implicated in the development of resistance to Herceptin treatment."

Dr Menendez said that his team’s findings should not only help in understanding the molecular mechanisms by which individual dietary fatty acids regulate the malignant behaviour of breast cancer cells, but also suggested that dietary interventions based on oleic acid may delay or prevent Herceptin resistance in Her-2/neu-postive breast cancer patients.

Dr Menendez and co-researchers Dr Ruth Lupu, director of the Evanston Northwestern Health Research Institute’s Breast Cancer Translational Program and Dr Ramon Colomer, head of the Medical Oncology Division at Institut Catala d’Oncologia in Girona, Spain, are now looking to identify the ultimate molecular mechanism through which oleic acid supplementation inhibits the expression of Her-2/neu, as its blocking action appears to work in a different way from that of Herceptin.

They are also seeking funds for a study to see whether a high virgin olive oil diet will modulate the expression of the Her-2/neu oncogene in human breast tumours in animals and make the tumours less aggressive. In addition, they want to investigate whether oleic acid-rich diets have any effect on the anti-tumour activity of Herceptin.

Dr Menendez emphasised that while it was important to be cautious about the implications of the study, as laboratory results did not always translate into clinical practice, their findings did present the concept that a higher level of oleic acid in breast tissue could provide an effective means of influencing the outcome of breast cancer in patients carrying high levels of the rogue gene. "They may also help in designing future epidemiological studies and, eventually, dietary counselling to delay or prevent drug resistance developing in patients taking Herceptin," he said.
(ends)

[1] Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid of olive oil, suppresses Her-2/neu (erb B-2) expression and synergistically enhances the growth inhibitory effects of trastuzumab (HerceptinTM) in breast cancer cells with Her-2/neu oncogene amplification. Annals of Oncology. Doi:10.1093/annonc/mdi090.

Margaret Willson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.annonc.oupjournals.org
http://www.mwcommunications.org.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>