A new study has demonstrated that ellagitannin compounds derived from pomegranate fruit can reduce estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer proliferation by inhibiting aromatase activity. Estrogen stimulates the growth of ER+ tumors. Androgens are converted into estrogens in the body by the aromatase enzyme, thereby promoting such breast cancer.
Pomegranate fruit, which is a rich source of ellagitannins, has attracted notice because of its reported anticancer and anti-atherosclerotic properties. Pomegranate ellagitannins hydrolyze upon consumption, releasing ellagic acid, which is then converted to various derivative compounds by microflora in the gut.
In the study, 10 ellagitannin-derived compounds were tested. All were found to exhibit antiproliferative activity, and six were found to have anti-aromatase activity, the strongest of which was demonstrated by urolithin B. Further testing demonstrated that urolithin B significantly inhibited testosterone-induced MCF-7aro cell proliferation. MCF-7aro breast cancer cells are estrogen receptor positive/aromatase positive and demonstrate increased cell proliferation in the presence of testosterone. The authors conclude that pomegranate ellagitannin-derived compounds have potential for the prevention of estrogen-responsive breast cancers.
Selected breast cancer studies
Punicic acid is an ω-5 fatty acid capable of inhibiting breast cancer proliferation
Cleary . Punicic acid is an ω-5 fatty acid capable of inhibiting breast cancer proliferation. International Journal of Oncology. Spandidos Publications; 2009; 36 10.3892/ijo_00000515
Beware of Pomegranates Bearing 40% Ellagic Acid
Lansky EP. Beware of Pomegranates Bearing 40% Ellagic Acid. Journal of Medicinal Food. Mary Ann Liebert Inc; 2006; 9:119-122 10.1089/jmf.2006.9.119
Pomegranate extract improves a depressive state and bone properties in menopausal syndrome model ovariectomized mice
Mori-Okamoto J, Otawara-Hamamoto Y, Yamato H, Yoshimura H. Pomegranate extract improves a depressive state and bone properties in menopausal syndrome model ovariectomized mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Elsevier BV; 2004; 92:93-101 10.1016/j.jep.2004.02.006
Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer
Kim ND, Mehta R, Yu W, Neeman I, Livney T, Amichay A, et al. Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Springer Science and Business Media LLC; 2002; 71:203-217 10.1023/a:1014405730585