`Oleocanthal-Based Treatment Shows Promise Against Aggressive Type of Breast Cancer - Olive Oil Times


Oleocanthal-Based Treatment Shows Promise Against Aggressive Type of Breast Cancer

By Jasmina Nevada
Sep. 1, 2021 09:08 UTC

Oleocanthal, a phe­no­lic com­pound found in extra vir­gin olive oil, may be effec­tive as part of tar­geted ther­apy for triple-neg­a­tive breast can­cer (TNBC) patients, accord­ing to a new study from researchers at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

This highly aggres­sive form of breast can­cer, which is defined by the lack of ER, PR and HER2 expres­sion genes, is patho­log­i­cally aggres­sive with a high risk of recur­rence, mak­ing the dis­ease dif­fi­cult to con­trol.

This study means oleo­can­thal is nearly ready for clin­i­cal test­ing in human TNBC patients and sur­vivors.- Khalid El Sayed, can­cer researcher, University of Louisiana-Monroe

The American Cancer Society esti­mates that 281,550 new cases of inva­sive breast can­cer will be diag­nosed in the United States in 2021, with an esti­mated 44,130 deaths occur­ring as a result.

However, Khalid El Sayed, the lead author of the study and a can­cer researcher at the uni­ver­sity, believes that oleo­can­thal may hold the key to revers­ing the disease’s unfa­vor­able prog­no­sis.

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He told Olive Oil Times that epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies with Mediterranean pop­u­la­tions fol­low­ing a tra­di­tional Mediterranean diet rich in extra vir­gin olive oil have a lower inci­dence of colon and breast can­cers than other European or North American pop­u­la­tions. The pres­ence of oleo­can­thal in extra vir­gin olive oil may be the rea­son why.

Since 2011, we have been devel­op­ing oleo­can­thal as a sup­pres­sor [for TNBC], which lacks effec­tive tar­geted ther­a­pies, unlike other breast can­cer phe­no­types,” El Sayed said.

TNBC is the most fatal breast can­cer type,” he added. We began with val­i­dat­ing results in cell cul­tures, iden­ti­fy­ing mol­e­c­u­lar tar­gets and val­i­dat­ing activ­ity in nude mouse mod­els.”

The lat­est study inves­ti­gated the abil­ity of an oleo­can­thal-xyl­i­tol for­mu­la­tion to sup­press the ini­ti­a­tion and pro­gres­sion of breast can­cer by using advanced pre­clin­i­cal trans­genic mouse mod­els.

A com­par­i­son was car­ried out on the mol­e­c­u­lar sig­na­ture of oleo­can­thal treat­ment using the trans­genic mouse model and a human patient-derived xenograft, an exper­i­men­tal model in which human can­cer cells are trans­planted into immun­od­e­fi­cient mice.

This exposed over­lap­ping affected genes in both mod­els, pro­vid­ing solid evi­dence for oleo­can­thal as a spe­cific treat­ment for selected TNBC patients. The results of the study showed that the oleo­can­thal-xyl­i­tol admin­is­tered had the effect of sup­press­ing tumor growth. Structural changes in the tumor were also observed.

The dif­fer­ences among the affected genes were iden­ti­fied through gene expres­sion, show­ing an over­lap between mouse and human tumor mod­els. This enabled El Sayed and his team to under­stand the oleo­can­thal anti­cancer mol­e­c­u­lar mech­a­nism bet­ter and pre­dict prospec­tive clin­i­cal out­comes.

The study fur­ther pro­vided mol­e­c­u­lar and pre­clin­i­cal evi­dence demon­strat­ing the poten­tial of oleo­can­thal as a nutraceu­ti­cal, which may be applied to con­trol TNBC.

El Sayed said that this has helped pave the way for clin­i­cal test­ing of oleo­can­thal in humans.

Chemical and bio­log­i­cal sta­bil­ity of oleo­can­thal was main­tained, and anti-TNBC activ­ity was achieved with mod­els from actual patients,” El Sayed said. “[We received] insights on mol­e­c­u­lar mech­a­nisms and their effects against TNBC in humans, nar­row­ing the gap in clin­i­cal val­i­da­tions of the anti-can­cer effects of extra vir­gin olive oil phe­no­lics.”

This study means oleo­can­thal is nearly ready for clin­i­cal test­ing in human TNBC patients and sur­vivors,” he added. We plan to com­pete for the Phase II fund­ing [from the National Cancer Institute] award this year, which will put us sev­eral steps for­ward for human clin­i­cal tri­als.”

El Sayed hopes that using oleo­can­thal as a nutraceu­ti­cal will have fewer side effects than other anti-can­cer drugs while still demon­strat­ing a high effi­cacy.

Our main con­cern is the safety and effi­cacy of any nutraceu­ti­cal inter­ven­tions, as anti-can­cer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals have side effects,” he said. We do not want to see oleo­can­thal nutraceu­ti­cals caus­ing even 10 per­cent of these side effects.”

The advan­tages of the long-term use of oleo­can­thal by TNBC patients include its cost-effec­tive­ness due to its sus­tained plant sup­ply, high level of safety, which is based on the long human his­tory of extra vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion, and its novel mol­e­c­u­lar mech­a­nism,” El Sayed con­cluded.


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