Ginger has been found to significantly inhibit mammary tumor development and growth in laboratory mice when fed in drinking water. Ginger contains a variety of compounds with anti-cancer effects, including various gingerols. -gingerol has been shown to inhibit cell adhesion, invasion, and motility in both hormone receptor positive (ER+/PR+) and triple negative (ER-/PR-/HER2-) breast cancer cells.
In addition, -gingerol has been shown to selectively induce the death of ER+/PR+ breast cancer stem cells.
Ginger appears to increase the effectiveness of Adriamycin (doxorubicin) chemotherapy and may reduce chemotherapy-associated nausea. However, ginger should be avoided during radiotherapy since it has been shown to help protect cells against the cytotoxic effects of radiation. Now a new study has reported that -gingerol is especially effective in inducing triple negative breast cancer cell death.
Latest research finds gingerol reduces breast cancer growth
The study referenced above was designed to compare the effectiveness of -gingerol with -gingerol and -gingerol in inhibiting the growth of human breast cancer and mouse mammary tumor cells. Ginger contains several bioactive gingerols, however most cancer-related research has focused on -gingerol.
Study design and results
The authors first determined that -gingerol was more powerful than -gingerol and at least as potent as -gingerol in inhibiting triple-negative human (MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cell lines) and mouse mammary carcinoma (4T1, E0771) cell growth. -gingerol-gingerol was also found to suppress the growth of ER+/PR+ (MCF-7, T47D) and HER2+ (SKBR3) breast cancer cells.
Further experimentation demonstrated that -gingerol's growth inhibitory effect on triple negative cells was associated with reduced cell division and increased apoptosis (programmed cell death). Surprisingly, the cytotoxic effect of -gingerol did not appear to depend on accumulation of reactive oxygen species.
The authors conclude that further investigation of -gingerol for possible use in breast cancer treatment is justified.
Please see our article on triple negative diet for more information.