Washington, July 7 : A new study has shown that resveratrol, a chemical commonly found in red wine may help prevent breast cancer.
During the study, Eleanor G. Rogan, Ph.D., a professor in the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and colleagues measured the effect of resveratrol on cellular functions known to contribute to breast cancer.
"Resveratrol has the ability to prevent the first step that occurs when estrogen starts the process that leads to cancer by blocking the formation of the estrogen DNA adducts," said Rogan
"We believe that this could stop the whole progression that leads to breast cancer down the road," Rogan added.
The formation of breast cancer is a multi-step process that differs depending on type of disease, a patient's genetic makeup and other factors.
However, scientists know that many breast cancers are fuelled by increased estrogen, which collects and reacts with DNA molecules to form adducts.
The team found that resveratrol was able to suppress the formation of these DNA adducts.
"This is dramatic because it could be done with fairly low concentrations of resveratrol to stop the formation of these DNA adducts in the cells we studied," said Rogan.
Although researchers experimented with up to 100 µmol/L of resveratrol, the suppression of DNA adducts was seen with 10 µmol/L. A glass of red wine contains between 9 and 28 µmol/L of resveratrol.
The researchers also found that resveratrol suppressed the expression of CYP1B1 and the formation of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, two known risk factors for breast cancer.
Rogan said resveratrol works by inducing an enzyme called quinone reductase, which reduces the estrogen metabolite back to inactive form. By making estrogen inactive, resveratrol decreases the associated risk.
The report was published in the July 2008 issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.