Women who have taken a combined estrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy increase their risk of developing breast cancer. But curcumin, an Asian spice, may reduce their risk.
A study at the University of Missouri found that curcumin decreased the incidence of progestin-accelerated breast tumors in animals. It also delayed onset of the disease and reduced the incidence of multiple tumors.
“Approximately 6 million women in the United States use hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause, said Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professorship of Tumor Angiogenesis at the University of Missouri. “This exposure to progestin will predispose a large number of post-menopausal women to future development of breast cancer. The results of our study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumors.”
Progestin accelerates the development of breast tumors by increasing production of a molecule called VEGF that helps supply blood to the tumor. Curcumin helps block the production of VEGF.
“Curcumin and other potential anti-angiogenic compounds should be tested further as dietary chemopreventive agents in women already exposed to hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and progestin in an effort to decrease or delay the risk of breast cancer associated with combined hormone