José J. Gaforio on Preventive Effect of Olive Oil Against Human Breast Cancer

Fast Breaking Papers Commentary, June 2011

Jose J. Gaforio

Article: Squalene protects against oxidative DNA damage in MCF10A human mammary epithelial cells but not in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells

Authors: Warleta, F;Campos, M;Allouche, Y;Sanchez-Quesada, C;Ruiz-Mora, J;Beltran, G;Gaforio, JJ
Volume: 48, Issue: 4, Page: 1092-1100, Year: APR 2010
* Univ Jaen, Div Immunol, Dept Hlth Sci, Fac Expt Sci, Campus Lagunillas S-N, Jaen 23071, Spain.
* Univ Jaen, Div Immunol, Dept Hlth Sci, Fac Expt Sci, Jaen 23071, Spain.
* Ctr Venta Llano, Inst Andaluz Invest & Formac Agr Pesquera & Prod, Mengibar 23620, Spain.

Jose J. Gaforio talks with and answers a few questions about this month's Fast Breaking Paper paper in the field of Agricutural Sciences.

SW: Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

There is growing interest in the study of bioactive components present in food. More specifically, there is great interest in the Mediterranean diet where olive oil is the principal source of fat. Consumption of olive oil has been associated with a low incidence and prevalence of cancer, including breast cancer. However, we do not know what component of the oil would be responsible for this action.

A possible candidate is squalene, which is a compound found in relatively high amounts in virgin olive oil. However, until now, very little has been known about the antioxidant capacity of squalene and its effect on human breast tumorigenesis. Our results show, for the first time, the effect of squalene on normal breast epithelial cells and breast tumor cells.

SW: Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?

"...the results of this research has an important social and economic impact on Spanish society."

We describe new insights into the biological effects of squalene on our health. In particular, their role in preventing breast cancer.

SW: Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

Our results indicated that squalene, present at high concentrations in virgin olive oil, might contribute to the preventive effect of olive oil against human breast cancer by inhibiting oxidative stress. These findings could support the hypothesis that high squalene intake could contribute to the lower incidence of breast cancer in Mediterranean populations.

SW: How did you become involved in this research, and how would you describe the particular challenges, setbacks, and successes that you've encountered along the way?

We are interested in studying the health effects of virgin olive oil consumption. Specifically, our interest focuses on the study of some minor compounds present in virgin olive oil. We are particularly interested in its potential to prevent some cancers. Spain is the first olive oil producer in the world. Therefore, this type of research has an important social and economic impact for my country. This is one of the main reasons why we started this research.

SW: Where do you see your research leading in the future?

We are interested to obtain singular virgin olive oils by their sensory characteristics and composition in bioactive compounds. In addition, these oils have different health properties.

SW: Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?

As I mentioned earlier, the results of this research has an important social and economic impact on Spanish society. Highlighting the healthy properties of olive oil is an element of the first order to encourage their use in other countries.End

José J. Gaforio
Immunology Division
Department of Health Sciences
University of Jaén
Jaén, Spain



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