Plant-based diet switches lethal breast cancer into a treatable form

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In Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers found a dietary combination that transforms the most lethal of all breast cancers into a highly treatable breast cancer and a particular plant-based diet may be the key.

All breast cancers are either estrogen receptor-positive or estrogen receptor-negative. The tumors in ER-negative breast cancer are much less likely to respond to hormone therapy than are tumors that are ER-positive. The team identified two compounds in common foods that could be combined to turn on the ER gene in ER-negative breast cancer so that the cancer could be treated with estrogen receptor inhibitors such as tamoxifen.

The researchers found that combining dietary plant-derived compounds consisting of sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli sprouts, along with polyphenols from green tea, is successful in preventing and treating ER-negative breast cancer in mice that are genetically programed to develop ER-negative breast cancer at high rates.