The researchers examined the impact of luteolin, a natural compound found in herbs such as thyme and parlsey; and vegetables such as celery and broccoli.
As human breast cancer cells develop, they tend to take on stem cell-like properties, which can make them harder to kill. Luteolin was used to monitor stem cell-like characteristics of breast cancer cells. Laboratory mice with breast cancer also had reduced blood vessel formation and stem-like characteristics.
“In most circumstances, hormone replacement therapies improve the lives of menopausal women and achieve excellent results,” said Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professor in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. “Nevertheless, research has proven that a higher incidence of breast cancer tumors can occur in women receiving therapies that involve a combination of the natural component estrogen and the synthetic progestin”.
“Most older women normally have benign lesions in breast tissue,” Hyder said. “These lesions typically don’t form tumors until they receive the ‘trigger’– in this case, progestin–that attracts blood vessels to cells essentially feeding the lesions causing them to expand.”
“We feel that luteolin can be effective when injected directly into the bloodstream, so IV supplements may still be a possibility,” Hyder said. “But, until the supplement is tested for safety and commercialized, which we hope will happen after further testing and clinical trials, women should continue consuming a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Matthew T. Cook, Yayun Liang, Cynthia Besch-Williford, Sandy Goyette, Benford Mafuvadze, Salman M. Hyder. Luteolin inhibits progestin-dependent angiogenesis, stem cell-like characteristics, and growth of human breast cancer xenografts. SpringerPlus, 2015; 4 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40064-015-1242-x