Rice Bran and Breast Cancer

Rice bran products as dietary supplements to patients with

Breast Cancer

Raw rice bran has never been used as food due to high bacterial counts and unstable shelf life. A non-chemical technology has recently been developed to stabilize rice bran resulting in a longer shelf-life, nutrient stability and microbiological sterility. Stabilized rice bran and its products are all natural, and safe dietary supplements for human and animal consumption. Stabilized rice bran is a store-house of powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants.

There are several reports in the literature on the clinical efficacy of rice bran phytonutrients relating to the prevention as well as arresting the progression of certain cancers such as , breast, colon, lung, liver and other organ cancers. These phytonutrients were also found to be useful in the management of certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Hence, rice bran phytonutrients have potential applications in preventive and clinical medicine. Tocotrienols, polyphenols, inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), phytosterols, non-starchy polysaccharides and gamma oryzanol are the major phytonutrients of rice bran. They have been studied and demonstrated to have positive impact in the prevention and arresting the progression of breast cancer.


Tocotrienols (T3) are isomers of Tocopherols (T) and belong to Vitamin E family. They are naturally available only in three sources, namely rice bran, palm and barley. Rice bran has highest concentration than palm. Several studies demonstrated the efficacy of tocotrienols in treating breast, colon and liver cancers.

“Tocotrienols inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells irrespective of estrogen receptor status” Nesaretnam, K., Stephen, R Dils, R., and Darbre, P. Lipids, Vol. 33 no. 5 (1988)

This paper describes the antiproliferative effects of tocotrienols on human breast cancer cells, and study demonstrates the inhibition of the growth of breast cancer cells. According to the authors, T3 could offer an alternative clinical approach to growth suppression of cancer cells that are resistant to other regimes of therapy for breast cancer.

Tocotrienols are considered as one of the most important nutraceutical compounds that will play significant roles in clinical investigation as well as in the treatment of cancer. Since rice bran products are rich in tocotrienols, their use should be considered as dietary supplements for breast cancer patients to arrest the progression of the disease.

Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6)

Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) known also as phytate is abundantly available in rice bran. It has been demonstrated to have anti-tumor and anti-cell proliferative action in several experimental models of cancer. A striking anti-cancer effect of IP6 has been demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo by showing decreased cell proliferation and differentiation of malignant cells often resulting in a reversion to normal phenotype. The following papers support the anti-cancer effect of IP6.

“Inhibition if rat mammary Carcinogenisis by Inositol hexaphosphate (Phytic acid). A pilot study” Vucenik, V; Sakamoto, K; Bansal, M; Shamsuddin, A. M. Cancer Letters 75 (1993) 95-102.

“Minireview IP6: A novel anti-cancer agent” Shamsuddin, A. M; Vucenik, I; Cole, C.; Life Sciences Vol 61, No 4 pp 343-354

Rice bran products having high levels of IP6 as a dietary supplement to Breast Cancer patients may be a good alternative approach of treatment.


Phytosterols are plant-based sterols abundantly available in rice bran products. They have been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of breast cancer by strengthening an intra-cellular signaling system that inhibits cell division. Rice bran products with high phytosrerols may offer protection from breast cancer by inhibiting cancer growth and stimulating cancer cell apoptosis.

“Inhibition of growth and stimulation of apoptosis by beta-sitosterol treatment of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells in culture.” Awad, A. B; and Finik,C. S. Int. J. Mol. Med, 2000, 5(5): 541-55.


Rice bran is rich in polyphenols, which are cinnamic acid derivatives, commonly present in plant-based foods. Ferulic acid (the most abundant component), p-Coumaric acid, Tricin, and Sinapic acid were identified in rice bran. These polyphenols of rice bran are potentially chemopreventive components and have demonstrated to increase the phase2 detoxifying liver microsomal enzymes to several folds higher. These enzymes eliminates the carcinogen from the body making it unavailable to the DNA to form adduct which are the basis of cancer cell. These polyphenol extracts were demonstrated to inhibit breast and colon cancer cells.

“Characterization of potentially chemopreventive phenols in extracts of brown rice that inhibit the growth of human breast and colon cells.” Hudson, A.; Dinh, A.; Kokubun, T ; Simmonds, M.; Gescher, A. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2000, Vol 9, 1163-1170.

Rice bran products are nature’s richest sources of tocotrienols, IP6, phytosterols and polyphenols. The anti-tumor effects of rice bran polysaccharides and gamma oryzanol have also been amply reviewed in literature. The scientific literature strongly support the anti-cancer property of rice bran, especially in breast cancer. These compounds appear to act both as blocking agents as well as suppressing agents for cancer and switch the cell programming from proliferative to a normal phenotype cells. Rice bran products merit their use as an alternative therapy for breast cancer patients.




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