According to a study published in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research,eating pomegranate or drinking pomegranate juice could prevent estrogen dependant breast cancer. The anti cancer property of Pomegranates is attributed due to compounds called ellagitannins.These are anti-aromatase phytochemicals. Ellagic acid inhibits aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen. Aromatase plays a key role in breast carcinogenesis; therefore, the growth of breast cancer is inhibited. “Phytochemicals suppress estrogen production that prevents the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen-responsive tumors,” said principal investigator Shiuan.
Chen, Ph.D., director of the Division of Tumor Cell Biology and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. Chen, along with Lynn Adams, Ph.D., a research fellow at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, and colleagues who are involved in the current study analyzed 10 ellagitannin-derived compounds in pomegranates of which Urolithin B, which is a metabolite produced from ellagic acid and related compounds was found to significantly prevent estrogen-responsive breast cancers.
“This is an in vitro study in which relatively high levels of ellagitannin compounds were required to demonstrate an anti-proliferative effect on cultured breast cancer cells,” said Stoner, who is not associated with this study. “It’s not clear that these levels could be achieved in animals or in humans because the ellagitannins are not well absorbed into blood when provided in the diet.” Stoner believes these results are promising enough to suggest that more experiments with pomegranate in animals and humans are warranted. “More research on the individual components and the combination of chemicals is needed to understand the potential risks and benefits of using pomegranate juice or isolated compounds for a health benefit or for cancer prevention,” according to Powel Brown, M.D., Ph.D., medical oncologist and chairman of the Clinical Cancer Prevention Department at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center . “This study does suggest that studies of the ellagitannins from pomegranates should be continued.” At present we could consider consuming more pomegranates to protect against cancer development in the breast and perhaps in other tissues and organs.