AZCC researcher receives $3 million to study effects of dietary supplement and breast cancer risk

AZCC researcher receives $3 million to study effects of dietary supplement and breast cancer risk

Arizona Cancer Center researcher Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD, has received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study whether a compound found in broccoli can enhance the health-promoting effects of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen in women at risk of developing breast cancer or those previously treated for early-stage breast cancer.

Tamoxifen is an accepted treatment for breast cancer. Dr. Thomson, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona, notes that data from diet studies of people who have a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and broccoli – suggest that intake may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colorectal, bladder and possibly prostate.

“We have previously shown that women taking tamoxifen who eat more vegetables may decrease cancer recurrence risk. This study will test the potential health-promoting effects using one isolated bioactive compound found in cruciferous vegetables, diindolylmethane (DIM), and compare it to a placebo intervention in favorably changing breast characteristics like breast density,” Dr. Thomson says.

Alison Stopeck, MD, a co-investigator in the study and the director of the Clinical Breast Cancer Program at the Arizona Cancer Center, sees this research as a unique opportunity to determine the potential of non-invasive imaging to be a reliable biomarker for breast cancer risk. Women in the study will complete periodic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures for measuring breast characteristics.

Study participants will be asked to take the supplement or placebo for 18 months and complete periodic clinic evaluation visits. The supplement is a patented, absorption enhancing forumaulation of diindolylmethane known as BioResponse DIM® (also known under the tradenames Indolplex® or BR-DIM®) supplied by BioResponse, LLC of  Boulder, Colo.  For more information about the DIM study, call Julie West at (520) 321-7748.

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