Black cohosh provides increased breast cancer protection: a retrospective case-controlled study.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Black cohosh (Health aspects)
Black cohosh (Usage)
Black cohosh (Research)
Breast cancer (Risk factors)
Breast cancer (Prevention)
Breast cancer (Research)
Isoflavones (Dosage and administration)
Author: Sarris, Jerome
Pub Date: 06/22/2007
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2007 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Summer, 2007 Source Volume: 19 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 174818480
Full Text: Rebbeck T, Troxel A, Norman S, Bunin Get al. 2007. A retrospective case-controlled study of the use of the use of hormone-related supplements and association with breast cancer. Int J Cancer 120;1523-8. (JS)

A retrospective population based case controlled epidemiological study was conducted to evaluate various hormonally modulating substances and their relationship with breast cancer risk. The substances assessed were phytoestrogens/isoflavones, black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), dong quai (Angelica sinensis), ginseng (Ginseng spp), DHEA, steroid and yam (Dioscorea villosa) creams. Nine hundred and forty nine breast cancer cases were compared with 1,524 controls sourced from the Northeast of the USA. Use of hormone related substances varied by race, with African American women being more likely to use herbal medicines compared with European Americans (19.2% vs 14.7%).

The study revealed that the risk of developing breast cancer was significantly lower in women who used hormone related substances, the majority of which were natural (adjusted OR 0.65, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.87). Of the individual supplements assessed, black cohosh was significantly associated with lower breast cancer risk (adjusted OR 0.39, 95% CI: 0.22, 0.70). Phytoestrogen use, although not statistically significant, did display a trend towards decreasing breast cancer risk.

Comment: With controversy surrounding black cohosh and breast cancer, epidemiological studies may provide better evidence of interaction and outcome than animal and in vitro studies. This study adds to growing 'human' clinical evidence that black cohosh does not increase breast cancer risk and may in fact provide protection.

Jerome Sarris

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