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Olive Oil Fights Breast Cancer Gene in Women - 2005-01-10


Scientists say they now know why the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, reduces the risk of breast cancer.

A new study led by Dr. Javier Menendez of the United States says a key ingredient in olive oil, oleic acid, suppresses a gene (HER-2/neu) that is found in many women who develop breast cancer.

Patients with the cancer-causing gene tend to develop the most aggressive form of the disease, and have a poor prognosis for survival.

The researchers say olive oil's oleic acid also improves the effectiveness of a drug (Herceptin) that works against the gene.

Olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean diet, which also includes a high concentration of fruits, vegetables and bread. Researchers have previously found the diet reduces the risk of heart disease and the effects of aging.

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