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 Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

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: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>