Mediterranean Diet: More Reasons Why It Can Save Your Life

Olive oil an aid in breast cancer fight: study

FairfaxDigital, January 11, 2005

Olive oil can help fight breast cancer, researchers said in a study out yesterday.

“Our findings underpin epidemiological studies that show that the Mediterranean diet has significant protective effects against cancer, heart disease and ageing,” said the study’s lead author, Javier Menendez, of Northwestern University’s Feinberg medical school in Chicago.

Researchers showed in a series of laboratory experiments on breast cancer cells that oleic acid, found in olive oil, dramatically cuts the levels of a cancer-promoting gene called Her-2/neu (also known as erb B-2), Menendez said.

High levels of the gene occur in over a fifth of breast cancer patients and are associated with highly aggressive tumours that have a poor prognosis, according to findings reported in the January 10 Annals of Oncology.

Oleic acid suppressed the gene, and other tests showed that it boosted an antibody treatment trastuzumab (Herceptin), which targets the gene and has helped to prolong the lives of many breast cancer patients, the researchers said.

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