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Effect of Pomegranate Extract on Breast Cancer Stem Cells

By: Alanna M. Greaney
Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A team from the University of Albany Cancer Research Center has discovered that pomegranate extract may slow down or stop the division of breast cancer stem cells (CSCs). Using cancer cell lines mimicking the properties of breast CSCs, Professor Ramune Reliene, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, and colleagues, recorded noteworthy differences between the cells that were treated with pomegranate extract versus those untreated. These results were reported in Nutrition and Cancer.

“Our evidence alone does not suggest that pomegranate is the end-all-be-all-cure of breast cancer, but pomegranate extract shows promising potential for having a positive effect in both the primary cancer prevention and inhibition of the disease progression,” reported Prof. Reliene in a University at Albany press release.  

The researchers evaluated several markers of breast CSCs. Notably, the effect of pomegranate extract on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) indicated decreased cell migration. Furthermore, pomegranate extract downregulated genes involved in EMT, including the EMT-inducing transcription factor Twist family basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor 1 (TWIST1), suggesting pomegranate extract may suppress CSCs characteristics in part due to inhibition of EMT.