Researchers have found that Curcumin, derived from the turmeric root, a popular Indian spice with much medicinal value, can help reduce cancer risk among postmenopausal women, who have been subjected to hormone replacement therapy.
Studies during the past have revealed that oestrogen, together with progestin hormone replacement therapy, increases the risk of developing progestin-accelerated breast tumours, among postmenopausal women.
The results of the study reveal that women could take curcumin to protect themselves from progestin-accelerated tumours, said Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professorship in Tumor Angiogenesis and Professor of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center.
The study performed using animal model showed that curcumin delayed the first appearance, and decreased the incidence and prevented the multiplicity of progestin-accelerated tumours, to a great extent.
Curcumin also prevented the appearance of gross morphological abnormalities in the mammary glands.
The research team had earlier revealed that progestin increases production of a molecule called VEGF and accelerates the development of certain tumours, and so, blocking the production of VEGF may potentially reduce the proliferation of breast cancer cells.
Hyder confirmed that Curcumin prevents progestin-induced VEGF secretion from breast cancer cells.
Curcumin and such other potential anti-angiogenic compounds needs to be further tested as dietary chemo-preventive agents in women, who have already been exposed to hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and progestin, so as to decrease or delay the risk of breast cancer associated with combined hormone replacement therapy, Hyder reported.
The study has been published in a Journal of the North American Menopause Society.