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Baicalein Suppresses Breast Cancer Cell Migration in Culture

Posted May 25 2010 7:11am
Baicalein is a flavonoid phytochemical found in a variety of plants that have been used in traditional herbal medicine practices.  Previous research has suggested that baicalein might have cancer fighting properties in a variety of cancers.  New research suggests that baicalein might have breast cancer protective properties as well.

In this new breast cancer research study , investigators used a cell culture system to determine the effects of baicalein on the function of highly metastatic breast cancer cells.  The breast cancer researchers treated MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells with several different doses of baicalein and examined the ability of the breast cancer cells to attach, invade, and migrate.  The breast cancer researchers reported
  • Baicalein suppressed the ability of these breast cancer cells to attach to a matrix in the cell culture system.
  • Baicalein inhibited the breast cancer cells from invading and migrating through a gel matrix.
  • Suppression of breast cancer cell function varied by dose with higher doses have a greater inhibition of function.
  • Baicalein appeared to suppress breast cancer cell function by reducing the formation of enzymes responsible for tissue breakdown and subsequent invasion.
While these are definitely positive results, more research will need to be done in animal and human studies.  This cell culture study suggests that baicalein might be able to suppress breast cancer metastasis, a serious event associated with poorer breast cancer outcomes.  Breast cancer treatments that can reduce the chances of breast cancer spreading have the possibility of improving breast cancer outcomes and survival.  Baicalein has been found in various plants like Oroxylum indicum (Indian Trumpet) and Scutellaria baicalensis (Baikal Skullcap), which have long been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine.  Future animal and human studies will hopefully provide additional insight to the suitability of baicalein for breast cancer therapy.

Plants, both edible and inedible, have been shown to have a variety of cancer fighting properties.  Read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer to learn more about some of my favorite cancer fighting foods.
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