(Reuters) – Enzyme-blocking chemicals in pomegranates may reduce the risk of estrogen-fueled breast cancers, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.
An acid found in pomegranates appears to block aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen, a hormone that plays a role in the development of breast cancer, the researchers wrote in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
“We identified some of these chemicals in pomegranates that actually have properties that can suppress aromatase,” researcher Shiuan Chen, of the City of Hope cancer research and treatment center in Duarte, California, said in a telephone interview.
Many women who have had breast cancer take medicines called aromatase inhibitors — such as Pfizer’s Aromasin, Novartis’ Femara and AstraZeneca Plc’s Arimidex — to keep estrogen from feeding tumors.
Chen and colleagues studied whether compounds, or phytochemicals, in pomegranates can suppress aromatase and ultimately block cancer growth. They found that 10 natural compounds in the fruit may potentially prevent estrogen-related breast cancer.