A carcinogen found in grilled chicken may worsen breast cancer, according to new research. In the October issue of Toxicology, Imperial College London researchers shared results of a study treating human breast cancer cell lines with PhIP, one of a group of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines. PhIP is commonly found in grilled and barbecued meats, especially chicken. The researchers found that very small doses of PhIP caused the cells to exhibit extracellular invasive behavior. The invasiveness of the cells increased with increasing doses of PhIP, with some doses of PhIP surpassing the positive control, 17B-estradiol, the most common form of estrogen. Estrogen is a major promoter of breast cancer cells.
The authors concluded that PhIP is not only a potent breast cancer culprit due to its ability to damage DNA, but could also increase the likelihood that breast cancer cells will become metastatic, worsening existing disease.
- Lauber SN, Gooderham NJ. The cooked meat-derived mammary carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6- phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine promotes invasive behaviour of breast cancer cells. Toxicology. Published ahead of print October 15, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2010.10.004