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June 23, 2016

Scientists reveal hops extract could help reduce breast cancer

Scientists have revealed that new lab investigations on breast cells using extracts from hops, the flower cones used to make beer, could help fight breast cancer.

By Lopamudra Roy

plant

Scientists have revealed that new lab investigations on breast cells using extracts from hops, the flower cones used to make beer, could help fight breast cancer.

According to a report published in The ACS journal 'Chemical Research in Toxicology', an extract from hops boosted a detoxification pathway in breast cells in the lab.

Hops are also used in dietary supplements that treat post-menopausal symptoms and other conditions.

Exposure to estrogen has been considered as one of the major causes for developing breast cancer, particularly in post-menopausal women.

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Women undergoing menopause often use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes.

However, the use of HRT can increase risks of breast cancer and heart disease.

As a result, some women are turning to hops supplements containing phytoestrogens as a natural alternative. However, their effect on cancer risk is currently unproven.

Preliminary lab studies have revealed that certain active compounds from hops can possess protective properties. This inspired researchers into using an enriched hop extract to test its effects on estrogen metabolism, which is one of the processes in development of breast cancer.

"The study showed that one particular hops compound, 6-prenylnaringenin (6-PN), strengthened the cells' detoxification pathway that is associated with a lower risk for breast cancer."

Researchers applied the extract to two different breast cell lines to study their effect on estrogen metabolism.

The study showed that one particular hops compound, 6-prenylnaringenin (6-PN), strengthened the cells' detoxification pathway that is associated with a lower risk for breast cancer.

Results suggested that 6-PN could possess anti-cancer effects, although the researchers said more studies would be needed to further investigate this possibility.

The research has received funding from the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements, which are both parts of US National Institutes of Health.


Image: Hops extract may be able to reduce breast cancer risks. Photo: courtesy of LuckyStarr.

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