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Health News Archive 243 - Breast Cancer
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Ginkgo Slows Breast Cancer Growth 80%

Studies in mice suggest the popular herb Gingko biloba might help fight human brain and breast tumors.

Mice treated with an extract of Gingko biloba leaves both before and after being implanted with human breast or brain tumors had decreased expression of a cell receptor -- peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) -- associated with invasive cancer, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.

This drop in PBR expression slowed the growth of breast tumors by 80 percent in treated vs. untreated mice. The effect lasted for as long as the mice received the Gingko biloba extract, the researchers added. Decreased expression of PBR also reduced the size of the brain tumors, but only temporarily so, and to a lesser degree.

"It is very encouraging that Gingko biloba appeared to reduce the aggressiveness of these cancers, because it suggests that the leaves could be useful in some early-stage diseases to prevent them from becoming invasive, or spreading," study senior author Vassilios Papadopoulos, director of the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization and associate vice president of Georgetown University Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

The other part of the research was to see if Ginkgo biloba would show any anticancer effects on these cancer cell lines, and concluded that the extract did nothing to cancers that were not invasive, but significantly slowed the growth of aggressive cancer cells.

"But I must stress that this is a study in mice, and so we cannot say what anticancer effects, if any, Gingko biloba might offer humans," he added.

Source: Anticancer Research, January-February 2006.

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