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The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern heading for the high consumption of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) that come mainly from the consumption of olive oil. Among many outcomes, breast cancer has been one the spotlight in the scientific community, due to the 1,4 million new cases diagnosed worldwide with a mortality rate of 450,000 per year.
Among the many benefits of olive oil, a review of the Mediterranean diet and breast cancer in premenopausal women collects information about the effects of olive oil consumption and the risk of breast cancer. The largest case-control study conducted with olive oil and breast cancer showed that higher consumption was inversely related to the risk of breast cancer. In another cross-sectional study, they also found similar results between higher consumption of olive oil (2 tablespoons per day) and mammographic density.
These effects provided by the consumption of olive oil are mainly due to oleic acid (18:1n-9), the main MUFAs present in olive oil, and other compounds such as hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, glycoside-OL and squalene (all of them phenolic compounds).
The review authors mention that oleic acid suppresses the overexpression of the HER-2/ErbB-2 oncogene, which has an important role in the etiology, invasive progression and metastasis of human tumors. Phenolic compounds have a scientifically potential antiatetrogenic, antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, olive oil polyphenols interact in the inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway (pathway involved in the body’s inflammatory response), of cell proliferation and activation of cell apoptosis.