Chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic action of a Cyclopia extract – Prof Louw
Prof Ann Louw
- Department of Biochemistry, University of Stellenbosch
Title of the project
Chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic action of a Cyclopia extract in rat models of breast cancer
Globally and in South Africa breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy in women. Most breast cancers are oestrogen receptor (ER) positive and require oestrogen for growth and metastasis. Selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), such as tamoxifen, are used for both treatment and prevention of breast cancer, while oestrogen receptor down-regulators (SERDs), such fulvestrant, which are pure ER antagonists devoid of agonist effects, may be used in cases of tamoxifen resistance. The ideal SERM, with possible use in hormone replacement therapy and prevention of breast cancer, has been suggested to be anti-estrogenic in breast, neutral in the uterus and estrogenic in bone. Cyclopia or honeybush tea contains phytoestrogens. Previous work from our laboratory has suggested that an extract prepared from Cyclopia, SM6Met, has several properties that may make it an effective chemopreventative and/or chemotherapeutic agent for breast cancer. The current project aims to investigate the ability of SM6Met to prevent (chemopreventative) or treat (chemotherapeutic) breast cancer in two breast cancer models in rats. Furthermore, the effects of SM6Met in these models will be compared to that of tamoxifen and fulvestrant. In addition, an ERβ subtype specific ligand, liquiritigenin, will also be investigated as SM6Met has been shown to be an ERβ agonist.