Natural Extract from Rosehips May Combat Aggressive Breast Cancer

First Posted: Mar 30, 2015 11:13 AM EDT

Could a natural extract from rosehips help those with breast cancer? Scientists have found that the extract significantly reduced the growth and migration of cells from a type of breast cancer known as triple negative, a particularly aggressive form of cancer that does not usually respond to most of the available treatments.

"Doctors, patients and researchers are looking for alternative treatments for triple negative breast cancer, and people are always looking for ways to prevent cancer," said Patrick Martin, leader of the new study, in a news release. "How awesome would it be to be able to say: Here, take a daily vitamin tablet from the rose plant to possibly help prevent or treat cancer? It's a natural product that we found to be effective, with no known side effects."

Triple negative breast cancer draws its name from the fact that the cancer cells in these tumors lack the three growth factor receptors that are normally targeted during breast cancer treatment. As a result, most existing treatments are ineffective against it, and triple negative breast cancer patients who do not go into remission experience higher recurrence and death rates in the first three years compared with those with other types of breast cancer.

In this latest study, the researchers treated tissue cultures of triple negative breast cancer cells with several concentrations of rosehip extract. Exposure to the highest concentration (1.0 mg/ml) decreased triple negative breast cancer cell proliferation by a staggering 50 percent. The effect was reduced with decreasing concentrations. The highest concentrations of rosehip extracts (.025 to 1.0 mg/ml) decreased triple negative breast cancer cell migration by 25 to 45 percent.

"My hope is that our studies in tissue cultures, along with future studies in animal models, will lead to rosehip being recommended as a preventative measure in breast cancer or as an addition to current cancer treatment," said Martin.

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