A new study has reported that breast cancer patients with tumors having positive epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression have a less favorable prognosis than those with EGFR-negative tumors. The study included 2,567 women. Women with EGFR-positive tumors are more likely to be young and/or African American. EGFR-positive tumors tend to be larger and have more aggressive characteristics (including higher proliferation and genomic instability) that are less amenable to treatment with adjuvant therapy. EGFR-positive tumors are also more likely to be HER2 overexpressing (26% versus 16%), and less likely to be estrogen receptor positive (ER+) (60% versus 88%) or progesterone receptor positive (PR+) (26% versus 65%).

In the study, EGFR expression was found to be independently associated with reduced disease-free survival and reduced overall survival. The authors conclude that blocking EGFR may improve outcome in some breast cancer patients.

Strategy for those with EGFR-positive breast cancer

EGFR overexpression has been observed in many human cancers, among them brain, head and neck, thyroid, lung, colon, kidney, prostate, ovarian, and bladder cancer, as well as breast cancer. EGFR overexpression has been found to correlate with poor clinical prognosis. Activation of the receptor with epidermal growth factor promotes proliferation and migration of tumor cells, thus facilitating the spread of cancer.

Many breast cancer patients will never become aware of their epidermal growth factor receptor expression status. However, for those whose tumors have been tested and found to be EGFR positive, the following foods have been found to block EGFR, as well as having been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer in general:

Arugula
Blueberries
Bok choy
Carrots, purple
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherries
Collard greens
Cranberries
Flaxseed
Grapes, red
Green tea
Horseradish

Hot peppers
Kale
Mustard
Mustard greens
Parsley
Pomegranates & pomegranate juice
Raspberries
Red cabbage
Red onions
Saffron
Seaweed, brown
Soybeans
Sweet potatoes, purple
Tofu
Turmeric
Watercress