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Pomegranates May Offer Benefits Against Breast Cancer

Ellagitannin-derived compound urolithin B found to inhibit proliferation of breast cancer cells

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Compounds derived from pomegranates could help prevent estrogen-responsive breast cancers, according to research published in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

Lynn S. Adams, Ph.D., of the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., and colleagues analyzed data from in-vitro experiments on ellagitannin-derived compounds from pomegranates. Ellagitannins are the predominant type of polyphenols in pomegranate juice.

The authors found that urolithin B significantly reduced aromatase activity in the MCF-7aro breast cancer cell line, which overexpresses aromatase. Ellagitannins in pomegranate juice are converted to ellagic acid, which in turn is metabolized to urolithin A and B by gut microflora. Further testing found that urolithin B reduced testosterone-induced cell proliferation. Urolithin B appears to inhibit MCF-7aro cell proliferation largely through inhibition of aromatase.

"The ingestion of pomegranate juice can lead to concentrations of circulating urolithins reaching up to 18 µmol/L in blood. Taken together with the results of current studies and reports of the presence of urolithin A and B in the blood and urine of human subjects following pomegranate ingestion, the results of these analyses suggest that pomegranate intake may be a viable strategy for the chemoprevention of breast cancer," the authors conclude.

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