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January 13, 2005

Olive oil acid 'cuts cancer risk'

Topics: Health Issues

Scientists in Chicago say they have uncovered why a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil seems to cut the risk of developing breast cancer.

BBC News
The key is an ingredient of olive oil called oleic acid, they say.

Northwestern University laboratory tests on breast cancer cells showed the acid sharply cut levels of a gene thought to trigger the disease.

Cancer charities said the study, in Annals of Oncology, was interesting, but more research was needed. The researchers found that oleic acid cut activity levels of a gene called Her-2/neu, which occurs at high levels in over a fifth of breast cancer patients and is associated with highly aggressive tumours with a poor prognosis.

Not only did oleic acid suppress activity of the gene, it also boosted the effectiveness of a breast cancer drug called herceptin, which has helped to prolong the lives of many patients.

Lead researcher Dr Javier Menendez said: "Our findings underpin epidemiological studies that show that the Mediterranean diet has significant protective effects against cancer, heart disease and ageing."  Read more...

Posted by Hyscience at January 13, 2005 9:22 PM

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