Health Concerns

Cervical Dysplasia

Working To Fight Off Cervical Cancer

It is fortunate that most cases of cervical dysplasia will not progress to cancer, and if detected, cervical dysplasia is relatively easily treated. If cervical dysplasia progresses to cervical cancer, the treatment options are similar: cryosurgery (i.e., freezing the cancer) or loop electrosurgical excision. If they are treated early enough, it is possible for many women with early-stage cervical cancer to bear children. Advanced cancer that has spread beyond the cervix can require hysterectomy, radiation treatment, or chemotherapy.

While an abnormal Pap smear is reason to carefully adhere to any regimen of follow-up testing and treatment under the care of a physician, studies show certain nutrients also have an ability to fight cervical cancer. Research on cervical cancer has focused on agents that have low toxicity and display activity against HPV-positive cell lines (Vlastos 2003). The following chemical compounds are under investigation:

Indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol, a plant compound from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, has been studied in connection with the management of CIN. The effectiveness of this plant compound has been documented in small clinical trials (Stanley 2003; Bell 2000). Indole-3-carbinol reduces the formation of 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone, a suspected carcinogen, which in high levels is associated with a greater risk of cervical cancer (Sepkovic 2001).

Vitamin A. Retinoids, the natural and synthetic forms of vitamin A, inhibit the growth of epithelial cells through transforming growth factor beta (Comerci 1997). Additionally, retinoids have been reported to support the differentiation of cells (thereby preventing abnormal cervical cancer cells), as well as to affect the immune response of cells (Ahn 1997; Darwiche 1994).

Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is used by cells for growth and maintenance and as an antioxidant. Some studies have suggested coenzyme Q10 stimulates the immune system. Low levels have been found in certain cancers. Studies suggest the usefulness of coenzyme Q10 in adjuvant therapy in cervical cancer, especially in conjunction with alpha- and gamma-tocopherols (Palan 2003).

Green tea. A study of 51 patients showed a reduction of 69 percent of cervical dysplasia lesions in patients who received green tea extracts as either an ointment or capsule (Ahn 2003).

Blueberry Extract. Blueberries may slow the growth of cancer cells. In 2001, University of Mississippi researchers conducting in-vitro tests found that blueberry and strawberry extracts were remarkably successful in slowing the growth of two aggressive cervical cancer cell lines and two fast-replicating breast cancer cell lines, with the blueberry extract performing best against the cervical cancer cells (Wedge 2001).

Melatonin. In animal studies, this hormone is reported to prevent the proliferation of errant cells as well as to help prevent mutation of cells and the breakage of chromosomes (Anisimov 2000). In lab studies, growth of cervical cancer cells diminished within 48 hours of administration of melatonin (Chen 1995).

Turmeric (curcumin). Turmeric is effective in regulating cell development, cell division, and programmed cell death (Nagai 2005; Chen 2005; Ramachandran 2005; Sharma 2005; Seo 2005; Fang 2005; Weber 2005; Karunagaran 2005; Furness 2005; Tilak 2004; Surh 1999). With regard to cervical cancer, turmeric affects the transcription of the high-risk variant HPV18 as well as other cellular transcription responses (Prusty 2005). Finally, turmeric combined with the chemotherapeutic agent vinblastine is effective against resistant cervical cancer (Limtrakul 2004; Chearwae 2004).