Study shows that vitamin A may help reverse breast cancer

Study shows that vitamin A may help reverse breast cancer

  • Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in every 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, and 39,620 will die from breast cancer this year.
  • It is crucial to take steps to prevent this deadly disease, and to spread the knowledge to your loved ones.
  • A study published in the International Journal of Oncology found that retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A found abundantly in sweet potatoes and carrots helps turn pre-cancer cells back to normal and healthy breast cells. This research may explain why many clinical studies have not yet found benefits of vitamin A on cancer – the vitamin doesn’t appear to affect fully developed cancer, but only pre-cancerous cells, and at a very narrow dosage.
  • Since cancer cells go through many changes before they become aggressive.
  • Sandra V. Fernandez, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University, and a team used a breast cancer model with four different types of cells: normal cells, pre-cancerous, cancerous, and fully aggressive cancerous cells.
  • When they applied vitamin A to the four types of cells to retinoic acid, they observed a very dramatic difference in pre-cancerous cells.
  • Not only did the pre-cancerous cells begin to look normal, they also changed in genetic signature.
  • It looks like retinoic acid exerts effects on cancer cells in part via the modulation of the epigenome,” Fernandez explains.
  • We were able to see this effect of retinoic acid because we were looking at four distinct stages of breast cancer,” Dr. Fernandez adds. “It will be interesting to see if these results can be applied to patients.”
  • The cells that were fully cancerous or in more advanced stages that the pre-cancerous cells surprisingly did not show any effect when exposed to retinoic acid. This suggests that there is a very small window of opportunity for retinoic acid to be effective. The researchers also found that only one specific dose (about one micro Molar) showed anti-cancer benefits. Lower doses were ineffective, and higher doses were less effective.
  • More studies need to be conducted in animal and human models before these benefits can be confirmed, but the results look promising.
  • Note: The content on our website is for educational purposes only. Please consult your health practitioner or a qualified expert.
  • For 18 tips to help prevent breast cancer. 
  • For monthly breast self-examination step 1. 
  • For monthly breast self-examination step 2. 
  • Fight breast cancer with curcumin and omega-3s. 
  • 1. “All Trans-retinoic Acid (ATRA) Induces Re-differentiation of Early Transformed Breast Epithelial Cells.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. International Journal of Oncology, 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.
  • 2. “Can Vitamin A Turn Back the Clock on Breast Cancer?” Newswise. Thomas Jefferson University, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.
  • 3. “Can Vitamin A Turn Back the Clock on Breast Cancer?” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.
  • 4. What Are the Key Statistics about Breast Cancer?” American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2014.


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