Rosehips Show Promise in Preventing Breast Cancer

Natural extract found to reduce cell growth in triple negative breast cancer.

Natural extract found to reduce cell growth in triple negative breast cancer.

A natural extract was found to reduce the proliferation of breast cancer cells in a recent study.

The extract of rosehips, which is the fruit from rose plants, was found to significantly reduce the growth and migration of cells in triple negative breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer does not respond to most current treatments, which typically affects young women, African Americans, and Hispanics.

"Doctors, patients and researchers are looking for alternative treatments for triple negative breast cancer, and people are always looking for ways to prevent cancer," study lead and associate professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Patrick Martin, PhD, said in a press 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."

Cancer cells in triple negative breast cancer tumors lack 3 growth factor receptors that typically are targeted during treatment. This factor leaves the majority of existing treatments ineffective, as patients who achieve remission suffer higher recurrence and death rates over the first 3 years in comparison with other breast cancer types.

For the study, researchers treated triple negative breast cancer cell tissue cultures with several rosehip extract concentrations. The researchers found that exposure to the highest concentration of rosehips (1.0 mg/ml) reduced cancer cell proliferation by 50%.

The effect of the rosehips diminished with decreasing concentrations. The higher rosehip extract concentrations, from .025 to 1.0 mg/ml, reduced cancer cell migration between 25 to 45%.

Further experiments suggested the extract acts through the reduction of the MAPK and Akt enzymes that promote triple negative breast cancer cell growth.

Rosehips also improved the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin to reduce cell proliferation and migration in tissue cultures. This indicates rosehip extract may offer a beneficial addition to overall treatment regimens for the disease.

"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," Dr. Martin said.