WASHINGTON - The wonders of turmeric never cease to amaze. Researchers have now found that curcumin, a popular Indian spice derived from the roots of turmeric, could cut down the risk of cancer in women who take to hormone replacement therapy for the teatment of post menopausal symptoms.
Studies suggest that women who were on combined oestrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were at a greater risk of developing breast tumours.
“Approximately six million women in America use hormone replacement therapy,” said Salman Hyder, professor of biomedical sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri (U-M).
“The exposure to progestin pre-disposes a large number of post menopausal women to future development of breast cancer. The results of our study show that they should take curcumin to protect themselves from developing these tumours,” he added.
Research done on an animal shows that curcumin delayed the first appearance and potentially reduced the tumours from multiplying.
In previous studies, U-M researchers have found that progestin accelerated the development of certain tumours by increasing production of a molecule called VEGF (Vascular endothelial growth factor) that helps in supplying blood to the tumour.
By blocking VEGF production, researchers could reduce the proliferation of breast cancer cells.Curcumin inhibits progestin-induced VEGF secretion from breast cancer cells, he said.