~ Vitamin E Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Growth

In a report published in volume 52, issue 1 2005 of the journal Nutrition and Cancer (http://www.leaonline.com /loi/nc) researchers at the University of California Los Angeles showed that adding vitamin E to different breast cancer cell lines helps suppress cell proliferation in response to estrogen.

The researchers tested alpha-tocopherol on two estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer cell lines and on two lines that were estrogen-receptor negative. They found that the vitamin inhibited cell growth dose-dependently in all lines, but while the maximum inhibition in the two estrogen-receptor positive lines was 53 and 75 percent, vitamin E inhibited cell growth by just 14 and 8 percent in the estrogen-receptor negative lines.

To determine if the effect observed in the first two lines was due to a change in estrogen response, they tested the effect of several concentrations of vitamin E in response to varying concentrations of estrogen in the estrogen-receptor positive lines. They found that the growth stimulation induced by the highest concentration of estrogen was decreased in one of the cell lines by 69 percent and in the other by 84 percent by the most potent concentration of vitamin E. When the estrogen responsive cells were grown in an estrogen-deprived medium, vitamin E failed to inhibit cell growth.

The authors remarked that their study is one of the first to report vitamin E's effect on breast cancer cell estrogen response. They note that vitamin E has been shown to diminish breast tenderness and breast cyst size in up to 90 percent of women with benign proliferative breast disease, and as breast tissue hyperplasia is a risk factor for breast cancer, reducing the condition might help prevent cancer. They write, "Vitamin E may be a new nonsteroidal environmental antiestogren, and a dietary supplementation of vitamin E may be a preventive measure for breast cancer."
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