For their study, which has been accepted for future publication in the journal Menopause, the research team found that curcumin delayed the first appearance of progestin-accelerated tumors in lab animal experiments. The spice also decreased the incidence and reduced the numbers of progestin-fueled breast tumors in the animal studies. In fact, curcumin prevented the appearance of gross morphological abnormalities in the animals’ mammary glands.
In previous studies, University of Missouri researchers showed that progestin caused the accelerated development of certain tumors because the hormone increases production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is known to spur the supply of blood to cancerous tumors, making them grow more quickly. Hyder explained in the media statement that curcumin has been found to inhibit progestin-induced secretion of VEGF from breast cancer cells. So, by blocking the production of VEGF, the proliferation of breast cancer cells should be reduced .
“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 replacement therapy,” Hyder said.
According to the American Cancer Society, using HRT which combines estrogen with progestin for several years increases not only the risk of developing breast cancer but also the chances of dying from the disease. HRT containing both hormones makes breasts more dense and raises the risk the cancer may be found at a more advanced stage.
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