Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 9

This is part 9 in an 11-part series of articles, covering the epigenetic factors that reduce the growth of breast cancer cells and breast cancer risk. My goal with these articles is to empower you with information to help you heal from breast cancer and/or to reduce your risk of ever getting breast cancer.

For more information on my personal reasons for putting this information together, see Part 1 of the series.

In this article, Part 9 of the series, I am sharing the nutrients that block abnormal growth factors. Researchers believe that estrogen, progesterone, and the HER2 oncogene are able to promote abnormal growth of breast cancer cells. Research has found, however, that there are a number of other growth factors that can act on breast cancer cells. Finding out what inhibits these growth factors is a major focus of much new research, and we are learning that there are many epigenetic nutrients that help to overcome this problem.


Apigenin – found in celery, chamomile tea, chickpeas, dates, grapefruit, lemons, limes, onions, oranges, parsley, peas, pigeon pea leaves, rice bran, sorghum bran [1] [2] [3]

Asperuloside – found in bilberries [4]

Caffeic acid – found in adzuki beans, apples, apicots, barley, bee propolis, blackberries, black raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, buckwheat bran, brown rice, chia seeds, chickpeas, coffee, cranberries, dates, durian, flaxseed, goji/wolfberry, hazelnuts, lentils, mandarins, mulberries, oats, peas, quinoa, raspberries, sorghum bran, soybeans, strawberries, sunflower seeds, wheat [5]

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – found in organic grass fed beef, butter from grass-fed cows raised organically, full fat (preferably raw) dairy products like cream, milk, yogurt or cheese [6]

Curcumin – found in turmeric [7]

Cyanidin – found in blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries [8]

Cyanadin-3-glucoside – found in acai, amaranth, bilberries, black raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, cherries, black rice, durian, mulberries, pistachio nuts, red beans, strawberries [9]

Delphinidin – found in acai, amla, bananas, bilberries, black raspberries, blackcurrants, black beans, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, kidney beans, raspberries [8] [10] [11]

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – found in amla, green tea, peas [12] [13] [14] [15]

Formononetin – found in astragalus, cashews, dates, pigeon pea leaves, red clover [16]

Gallic acid – found in adzuki beans, amaranth, amla, apples, apricots, black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, chickpeas, dates, dragon fruit, durian, eggplant, evening primrose oil, flaxseed, hazelnuts, lentils, mulberries, peas, pecans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, raspberries, red beans, soybeans, strawberries, walnuts [17]

Gamma tocotrienol – a form of vitamin E [18]

Genistein – found in chickpeas, dates, kidney beans, peas, pigeon pea stems & roots, quinoa, soybeans [19] [20]

Kaempferol – found in amla, Anasazi beans, barley, black beans, black raspberries, black rice, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, buckwheat bran, cherries, chickpeas, chia seeds, cranberries, dates, dragon fruit, flaxseed, ginkgo biloba, green beans, kidney beans, lemons, lentils, limes, mulberries, peas, quinoa, raspberries, red beans, rice bran, strawberries [21]

Lutein – found in apricot, bananas, barley, black raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, cashews, cranberries, dates, durian, kale, grapefruit, green beans, lemons, mandarins, mulberries, oranges, peas, pecans, pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, raspberries, spelt, strawberries, walnuts, wheat, wheat bran [22]

Lycopene – found in apricots, dragon fruit, grapefruit, pistachio nuts, tomatoes, red beans [22]

Malvidin – found in bilberries, black beans, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries [8]

Melatonin – found in bananas, barley, black rice, cherries (esp sour), ginger, oats, walnuts [23]

Pelargonidin – found in black raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, kidney beans, raspberries, strawberries [8]

Petunidin – found in bilberries, blueberries, cranberries, kidney beans, strawberries [8]

Silibinin – found in the herb milk thistle (Silybum marianum) [24]

Sulforaphane – found in cruciferous vegetables, broccoli sprouts [25]

Ursolic Acid – found in cherries, cranberries [26]

Vitamin D3 – found in raw milk, salmon, sunshine, tuna [27] [28]

Please be aware that this is not an exhaustive list of nutrients, there are likely others as well that block abnormal growth factors in breast cancer cells. As I find the research and nutrients, I will add them to this list. Regarding dosages – because much of the research is preliminary and not involved in clinical trials, we do not know the exact amount required for a nutrient to block abnormal growth factors. But because most everything listed is a food item, with no known side effects (unless you’re allergic), my advice is to include as many of these nutrients in your daily/weekly diet as you can.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not attempt to treat breast cancer using only a few nutrients or supplements. Cancer is a complex disease and requires a multi-disciplinary approach to be effective. Please work with an oncologist and/or integrative oncologist and/or oncology naturopath and/or functional medicine doctor for the absolute best results.

For more information on other epigenetic factors that reduce breast cancer risk, please see
Part 1 nutrients that can control regulatory genes
Part 2 nutrients that can reduce damage to DNA
Part 3 nutrients that stop rapid proliferation of cells
Part 4 nutrients that ease cancer promoting inflammation
Part 5 nutrients that change malignant cells back into healthy cells
Part 6 nutrients that alter or restore receptors on breast cancer cells
Part 7 nutrients that inhibit excess estrogen production
Part 8 nutrients that trigger apoptosis in breast cancer cells


[1] Apigenin inhibits HGF-promoted invasive growth and metastasis involving blocking PI3K/Akt pathway and beta 4 integrin function in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17961621
[2] Exposure of breast cancer cells to a subcytotoxic dose of apigenin causes growth inhibition, oxidative stress, and hypophosphorylation of Akt – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25019465
[3] Flavones inhibit breast cancer proliferation through the Akt/FOXO3a signaling pathway – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26675309/
[4] Phosphoinositide 3-kinase signalling in breast cancer: how big a role might it play? – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC138693/
[5] Caffeine and Caffeic Acid Inhibit Growth and Modify Estrogen Receptor and Insulin-like Growth Factor I Receptor Levels in Human Breast Cancer — http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/21/8/1877
[6] Conjugated linoleic acid decreases mcf-7 human breast cancer cell growth and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor levels – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19266226
[7] The potentiation of curcumin on insulin-like growth factor-1 action in MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17499312
[8] Human tumor cell growth inhibition by nontoxic anthocyanidins, the pigments in fruits and vegetables – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15680311
[9] Cyanidin-3-o-glucoside directly binds to ERa36 and inhibits EGFR-positive triple-negative breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5356596/
[10] Delphinidin inhibits cell proliferation and invasion via modulation of Met receptor phosphorylation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989819/
[11] Delphinidin-3-glucoside suppresses breast carcinogenesis by inactivating the Akt/HOTAIR signaling pathway – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4937537/
[12] Activation of FOXO3a by the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate induces estrogen receptor alpha expression reversing invasive phenotype of breast cancer cells
[13] Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) downregulates EGF-induced MMP-9 in breast cancer cells: involvement of integrin receptor alpha5beta1 in the process
Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C)
[14] Epigallocatechin-3-gallate promotes apoptosis in human breast cancer T47D cells through down-regulation of PI3K/AKT and Telomerase – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28646740
[15] EGFR inhibition by (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate and IIF treatments reduces breast cancer cell invasion – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5434892/
[16] Formononetin induces cell cycle arrest of human breast cancer cells via IGF1/PI3K/Akt pathways in vitro and in vivo – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21932171/
[17] Gallic acid abolishes the EGFR/Src/Akt/Erk-mediated expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in MCF-7 breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27087131
[18] gamma-Tocotrienol inhibits HGF-dependent mitogenesis and Met activation in highly malignant mammary tumour cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21973114
[19] Genistein targets the cancerous inhibitor of PP2A to induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948957/
[20] AKT and p21 WAF1/CIP1 as potential genistein targets in BRCA1-mutant human breast cancer cell lines – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20651350
[21] Kaempferol, a Flavonoid Compound from Gynura Medica Induced Apoptosis and Growth Inhibition in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cell – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5566146/
[22] Selective Carotenoid Growth Inhibition in Breast Cancer: Independence of Hormonal Sensitivity – http://www.fasebj.org/content/29/1_Supplement/32.3.short
[23] Melatonin and vitamin D3 synergistically down-regulate Akt and MDM2 leading to TGFbeta-1-dependent growth inhibition of breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21091766
[24] Silibinin suppresses EGFR ligand-induced CD44 expression through inhibition of EGFR activity in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22110198
[25] Epigenetic diet: impact on the epigenome and cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197720/
[26] Ursolic acid inhibits breast cancer growth by inhibiting proliferation, inducing autophagy and apoptosis, and suppressing inflammatory responses via the PI3K/AKT and NF-kB signaling pathways in vitro – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5639319/
[27] Melatonin and vitamin D3 synergistically down-regulate Akt and MDM2 leading to TGFbeta-1-dependent growth inhibition of breast cancer cells
[28] Cooperation between BRCA1 and vitamin D is critical for histone acetylation of the p21waf1 promoter and for growth inhibition of breast cancer cells and cancer stem-like cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4322975/

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