Vitamin E Decreases Cancer Risk in Patients with Cowden Syndrome
Cowden Syndrome (CS) or Cowden’s disease is a rare genetic disorder that is characterized by multiple tumor-like growths called hamartomas. An affected individual usually has small, benign (noncancerous) growths commonly found on the skin and the lining of the mouth and nose, but they can also be found in other parts of the body such as the intestinal tract. Although these growths are noncancerous, patients with Cowden syndrome have a high risk for developing cancers, including breast (85% risk) and thyroid cancer (35% risk), caused by genetic mutation.
Research by Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., Hardis Chair and Director of the Genomic Medicine Institute and Director of its Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare at Lerner Research Institute showed that specific genetic mutations damage cells and reduces their ability to eliminate cancerous cells. However, the Cleveland clinic researchers found that adding vitamin E experimentally to mutant cells reduced cell damage related to cancer formation.
Dr. Eng reports their findings in the Clinical Cancer Research, stating that the evidence support previous knowledge that vitamin E may be useful in preventing cancer and may be used as an adjunct to anti-cancer therapy, especially in patients harboring gene mutations characteristic of Cowden’s syndrome.
Many studies have demonstrated the antioxidant properties of the fat-soluble vitamin E. Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which contribute to the development of cancer. Vitamin E may be found naturally in the diet from nuts and seeds, vegetable oils and in green leafy vegetables. They are also available in dietary supplements and in fortified cereals.
Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin E may decrease cancer risk in Cowden syndrome patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2012.