EPIGENETICS for Breast Cancer Prevention

 In Recovery & Healthy Living

Nutrients that Cut Off the Blood Supply to Growing Tumors

Once a cancer has begun its rapid growth phase, it requires a vast increase in its blood supply. Tumor cells are capable of inducing new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) through multiple epigenetic mechanisms. A number of nutrients are capable of reversing that process and depriving growing tumors of blood supply. These include:

  • Apigenin122-124
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)17,125
  • Coffee diterpenes18
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)85
  • Curcumin126
  • Grape seed extract127,128
  • Green tea129,130
  • Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C)79
  • Lycopene27
  • Melatonin27
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)30,33,34
  • Omega-3 fatty acids131
  • Pomegranate132
  • Quercetin74
  • Silibinin133
  • Soy isoflavones134-136
  • Vitamin D75,86

Nutrients that Prevent Tumors from Spreading

Growing tumor
Growing tumors develop the ability to invade local and regional tissues, and to “seed” other body areas with malignant cells through the process of metastasis. To accomplish these processes, tumors increase their production of “protein-melting” enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases, or MMPs. Effective chemoprevention involves epigenetic changes that impair tumors’ production of MMPs, as is seen in the activities of these nutrients (and drugs):

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)137
  • Coffee diterpenes and phenolics18,138
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)139
  • Cruciferous vegetable components sulforaphane and isothiocyanates140
  • Curcumin141
  • Green tea polyphenols24, 121,130
  • Melatonin142
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)31
  • Silibinin41,42,133
  • Soy isoflavones101,135
  • Compounds that function via other mechanism to inhibit metastasis include:
  • Modified citrus pectin143+
  • Aspirin144
  • Cimetidine145+


Breast cancer, the leading malignancy among women, has long evaded attempts at prevention. However, breakthroughs in the science of epigenetics has led both to a greater understanding of how breast cancer forms—and ultimately to the discovery of novel approaches to chemoprevention.

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