One in five cases of breast cancer are known as ‘triple-negative’, found to be the most aggressive type, but recently scientists have discovered a compound found in specific herbs which stop most types of cancerous cells spreading.
The compound, luteolin, does what chemotherapy can’t, which is to locate the triple-negative cancer cells and stop them metastasizing, or spreading, say researchers from the University of Missouri.
Triple-negative breast cancer cells are so called because they lack three receptors that chemotherapy drugs usually locate and latch onto, being estrogen, progesterone and Her-2 proteins. Instead, oncologists have to use very aggressive and toxic therapies to try to combat their spread.
However, researchers have found that luteolin does the job instead. In one experiment, scientists found that this compound stopped the triple-negative cells spreading to the lungs, and, in a second study, they blocked their spread throughout the body with this compound also killing the cancer cells.
Unrestricted proliferation, which is often due to ‘loss of cell cycle control’, allows cancer cells to outgrow and form tumors. Like many other flavonoids, luteolin is able to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells derived from nearly all types of cancers, mainly through regulating the cell cycle.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, which correlates multiple small research studies and lists the food groups in an easy to read format, highlighting foods with the most abundant bio-available Luteolin. In these findings the flavonoid Luteolin was found in the highest concentrations, interestingly enough, in dried mexican oregano (not fresh). Celery seeds, juniper berries, fresh thyme, radicchio and chinese celery also had good sources of Luteolin compared to other foods.
Based on these observations, it has been shown that luteolin is able to interfere with almost all the aspects of carcinogenesis, and because of it’s natural origins, is deemed relatively safe for both animals and humans. As seen from these studies, this natural compound is assumed to be a ‘potential chemo-preventive agent’ against cancer through blocking cell transformation, suppressing tumor growth, and killing tumor cells.