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Tocotrienol + Anti-Cancer Drug Combinations for Breast Cancer

Posted Apr 09 2010 7:15am
Excessive or abnormal signaling of ErbB receptors (more commonly known as epidermal growth factor [EGF] receptors) is associated with several different forms of cancer, including breast cancer.  Therefore, inactivation of these receptors are common targets for cancer therapy.  Unfortunately, the clinical effectiveness of these therapies do not always meet expectations.  This appears to be potentially due to the presence of 4 versions or subtypes of these receptors, making it difficult for anti-cancer drugs that target individual subtypes to work well.

A new study published in the free journal BMC Cancer examined the potential effectiveness of combining anti-cancer drugs with gamma-tocotrienol , a member of the Vitamin E family that has been shown to have cancer fighting properties.  For this study, breast cancer researchers grew mouse breast cancer cells in culture and treated them with anti-cancer drugs ( gefitinib , erlotinib , and trastuzumab ), gamma-tocotrienol, and various combinations of these substances.  Changes in breast cancer cell growth and survival were examined.  The breast cancer researchers reported that
  • Treatment with gamma-tocotrienol, gefitinib, and erlotinib individually at high doses substantially inhibited the growth of the mouse breast cancer cells.
  • Combined treatment of gamma-tocotrienol with lower-than-effective doses of either gefitinib or erlotinib resulted in dramatic decrease in breast cancer cell growth.
  • Combined treatment of gamma-tocotrienol with either gefitinib or erlotinib at low doses increased markers of cell death in mouse breast cancer cells indicating increase killing of these cells.
Overall, these results indicate that treating breast cancer cells with low doses of anti-cancer drugs in combination with gamma-tocotrienol, a member of the Vitamin E family, is effective at reducing breast cancer cell growth and survival in culture.  The effectiveness of these combinations was thought to be due to targeting multiple forms of the EGF receptors. The importance of this study is at lease two-fold.  First, this study confirms the potential usefulness of tocotrienols in the fight against cancer.  Second, this study shows that when combined with gamma-tocotrienol, some anti-cancer drugs might be able to be used at lower doses.  Any time that breast cancer can be effectively attacked with lower doses of therapeutic drugs is a good thing.

To learn more about other vitamins and foods that can help us all to fight breast cancer, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at .
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