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Dammarane Sapogenins Inhibit Estrogen Induced Breast Cancer Growth.

In addition to the above pleiotropic effects of dammarane sapogenins, our recent study demonstrated their usefulness in preventing estrogen-dependent breast cancer in particular.

Estrogen is a female hormone with important physiological functions; however, prolonged and excessive estrogen stimulation promotes breast cancer carcinogenesis. Furthermore, conclusive epidemiological evidence suggests that hormone replacement therapy for healthy postmenopausal women in western countries is associated with a small but substantial increase in breast cancer risk.

Our data showed that dammarane sapogenins compete with estrogen for estrogen receptors. Therefore, they prevent estrogen from binding to the receptors for their tumor stimulating effects. In a human breast cancer animal model, dammarane sapogenins or a dammarane sapogenin containing product completely blocked growth of the tumor even in the presence of high levels of estrogen. In addition, when dammarane sapogenins were used in combination with tamoxifen, a significant enhancement of the effect of the latter on killing breast cancer cells occurred.

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