Cancer Warnings For Black Cohosh
Increase Spread of Cancer
is the name used for the sudden onset of menopausal symptoms that
accompany many forms of chemo.
to herbal remedies seemed safe for breast cancer patients. Hormone
replacement was definitely not a good idea, but herbs are "natural".
cohosh is high on the list of herbs that survivors have found bring
relief from hot flashes and other uncomfortable physical effects
of estrogen deprival that breast cancer drugs create.
is finding that the dietary supplement herbal extract, black cohosh,
may not be a safe alternative therapy for breast cancer.
may be especially dangerous for those who have undetected breast
tumors or who are going through chemotherapy treatments.
study funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation was presented at the
94th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
used a transgenic mouse model in which the female mice spontaneously
develop mammary tumors through the activation of an oncogene common
in human breast cancer.
mammary tumors spread in time to other parts of the body, as occurs
with invasive breast cancer.
determine the effect of black cohosh on these processes, mice were
fed the herbal extract in a dosage comparable to women ingesting
40 mg/day (the amount of a standardized herbal supplement normally
recommended for menopausal symptoms). The sexually mature female
mice were fed the black cohosh diet for 12 months.
black cohosh-treated female mice, the incidence of new tumors was
not increased, suggesting that black cohosh will not increase or
decrease a womens risk of developing breast cancer.
in the mice that developed mammary tumors, there was an increase
in the number of tumors that spread to the lung (27.1% of treated
mice compared to 10.9% of the mice on the control diet).
increase in the number of lung tumors per female after long-term
exposure to black cohosh suggests that this herbal therapy may increase
the aggressiveness of the mammary cancer.
data presented suggest that black cohosh (at normal doses recommended
for women with menopausal symptoms) may promote progression to metastatic
disease in women with early stage breast cancer.
it is unfortunate to be eliminating another option for women needing
therapies to relieve menopausal symptoms, our findings suggest that
women who may be at high risk of having an undetected breast tumor
and certainly those who do have breast cancer should proceed with
great caution or simply avoid taking black cohosh
until we learn if there are ways to circumvent these adverse effects,
said Vicki Davis, Ph.D., lead researcher and assistant professor,
Mylan School of Pharmacy and Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
at Duquesne University.
announcement together with a study by Dr. Sara Rockwell of Yale
University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut reported
at the ASCO conference in April, 2003 makes the safety of black
cohosh use in breast cancer patients questionable.
ASCO study found that black cohosh increased toxicity of the breast
cancer chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and docetaxel
(Taxotere), but not a third, cisplatin.
studies reinforce the fact that herbs can be potent medicines. Just
because something is "natural" does not make it safe.
A drug, whether it comes from an herb or a laboratory, has side
effects that must be taken into account before use.
on herbal therapies that women already use is a good sign. Hopefully
it will increase the knowledge base of doctors who treat breast
cancer patients. It should reinforce the need to let the doctor
know if you are taking any drugs besides the cancer treatments that
have been prescribed. Drug interactions are possible with herbs
and other natural remedies - or over the counter medications - and
your cancer meds.
AACR Annual Meeting & ASCO
Elsewhere on the Web:
and Answers About Black Cohosh and the Symptoms of Menopause
of Black Cohosh As HRT
cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa [L.] Nutt.) - Mayo Clinic.com
updated July 8, 2009