Tag Archives: Breast Cancer

Can an extract from hops flowers reduce breast cancer risk?

Some sort of Hops Flowers Substance is a common dietary supplement used by post-menopausal women. A recent study looks at one molecule extracted from hops to see if it could help reduce the chance of getting breast cancer.

The paper is in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, and is called Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) Extract and 6-Prenylnaringenin Induce P450 1A1 Catalyzed Estrogen 2-Hydroxylation, by Shuai Wang, Tareisha L. Dunlap, Caitlin E. Howell, Obinna C. Mbachu, Emily A. Rue, Rasika Phansalkar, Shao-Nong Chen, Guido F. Pauli, Birgit M. Dietz, and Judy L. Bolton.

One factor that increases the risk of breast cancer is exposure to estrogen, which may be the result of hormone treatment in post-menopausal women (hormone replacement therapy, or HRT). The “natural supplement” made from hops is supposed to supply plant-originated hormones that, perhaps, are believed by some to be less likely to have bad side effects. I’m pretty sure there is no reason to think that. It might be, however, that a molecule found in hops extract, taken to supply phyotestrogen (as a “natural” alternative to industrially produced estrogen) could independently reduce breast cancer risk. This research is still in early stages.

From the press release that goes along with the paper:

Preliminary lab studies have suggested that certain active compounds from hops could have protective properties. Building on this lead, Judy L. Bolton and colleagues used an enriched hop extract to test its effects on estrogen metabolism, one of the processes in the development of breast cancer.

The researchers applied the extract to two different breast cell lines to see how they would affect estrogen metabolism. One particular hops compound called 6-prenylnaringenin, or 6-PN, boosted the cells’ detoxification pathway that studies have associated with a lower risk for breast cancer. Thus the results suggest that 6-PN could have anti-cancer effects, although more studies would be needed to further investigate this possibility, the researchers say.

I asked Dr. Bolton the obvious question, which I know people will want to know the answer to. “If a woman drinks a LOT of beer, is that going to help avoid breast cancer? And, if so, how much beer?”

Dr. Bolton only had bad news in this regard. She and her team used a byproduct of beer making that concentrated the hops extract, and further concentrated this. (I simplify a bit.) She guesses that the amount of 6-PN in actual beer would be very very low. So, no.

But putting that aside, this research does look promising. An anti-breast cancer dietary supplement that is easy to produce and inexpensive, and that has few or no side effects (other research has failed to show any serious side effects of this stuff) would be a very good thing.

Poor Women Have Breasts Too, You Know!

Thank you very much. About 6,000 people, many readers of this blog, donated $400,000 over 24 hours to Planned Parenthood to make up for the loss of funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer foundation. That is roughly in the range of the annual donations Komen was making to Planned Parenthood before they pulled out their support under false pretenses.

Now, here’s what has to happen.

1) If you were planning to run in a Komen race or otherwise engage in activities pursuant to their fundraising, ask yourelf this question: “Do I hate women, and/or do I think poor women don’t mind dying of cancer?” If the answer is yes, put on your pink ribbon and knock yourself out. If the answer is no, then cancel your engagement with Komen and do something else.

2) If you’ve recently given money to Komen, send them a note and ask for it back. It was obtained under false pretenses. If you are a a group of people and one or more of you is a lawyer, get out that legal stationary and make threatening motions with it.

3) If there is a Komen Race in your neighborhood any time soon, considering organizing a protest. Line part of the race route with poor women with breasts, carrying signs that say “we have breasts too!” or words to that effect.

4) If you are involved in any sort of #occupy activity, remind your fellow #occupiers that this is a 1% vs. 99% issue.

5) Consider making a regular donation to planned parenthood, just a few bucks a month, or once a year on your birthday, or once a year on the day you had your last Chemo, or whatever works for you.

6) Stop wearing pink to signify solidarity with cancer victims. Maybe pick a color off of the Planned Parenthood site and wear that. I don’t think Komen “owns” pink but they do use a lot of it.

7) If you have Komen merchandise such as a teddy bear, earrings, clothing, etc. take it to someplace appropriate and throw it over the wall. Like the vets threw their service medals over the wall at the Pentagon and the White House. Or just mail it back to them. Or, better yet, mail it to Planned Parenthood with a check.

Personally, I will not be satisfied with a detente, or a compromise, or a retraction, or a continuation of funding by Komen of Planned Parenthood. Komen has done something very very bad and they need to go away. It should be the case from now on that anyone who does not hate women should never give Komen a penny, ever, from now on. Komen is not necessary. There are other charities. There are other things for you to do with your energies, money, and time that will help women beat breast cancer.