New research has found that a molecule found in chilli peppers may slow the growth of triple-negative breast cancer. This type of breast cancer tests negatively for three receptors that promote breast cancer growth—estrogen, progesterone, and HER2—and often is difficult to treat.
For many patients with triple-negative breast cancer, chemotherapy is the only treatment option. A spicy substance in chili peppers called capsaicin has been shown to slow the growth of, and even destroy, several types of cancer cells—including cancer of the colon and pancreas. New research has shown that it also may destroy breast cancer cells and reduce their ability to spread (metastasize).
While eating capsaicin alone through diet or supplements would not be sufficient to treat cancer, researchers hope to use information about the chemical’s effects on cancer cells to develop new cancer drugs and hope it could lead to new treatment methods.