Use of an extract of the ancient perfume frankincense — the hardened resin from trees of the Boswellia genus — decreased breast cancer cell proliferation in a small clinical trial. .
Boswellic acids, the active component in frankincense, have demonstrated promising results for patients with inflammatory diseases and cancer in several published studies. The new trial is the first to find an antitumor effect in breast cancer. Given the strength of the findings, the investigators say that evaluating whether frankincense extract reduces local recurrence and improves survival of patients with breast cancer is worthwhile.
The authors observed a decrease in tumor cell proliferation of 13.8% ± 11.7% from core biopsy to surgical specimen in the extract arm.
They observed an increase in proliferation of 54.6% ± 21.4% from core biopsy to surgical specimen in the control group.
The between-group difference was statistically significant (P = .008). Changes in cellular apoptosis were similar between the two arms. No serious adverse reactions were associated with the extract, and the extract demonstrated antiproliferative effects on tumor cells in vitro as well.