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Observations placeholder

Breast cancer and cheese



Type of Spiritual Experience



Like other dairy products, cheese contains casein, a substance that, when digested by humans, breaks down into several chemicals, including casomorphine, an opioid peptide.

And it appears that casomorphine inhibits cancer cell growth.

A description of the experience


Cell Death Differ. 2001 Sep;8(9):943-52. Opioids are non-competitive inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase in T47D human breast cancer cells.Kampa M1, Hatzoglou A, Notas G, Niniraki M, Kouroumalis E, Castanas E.Laboratory of Experimental Endocrinology, University of Crete, School of Medicine, PO Box 1393, Heraklion, GR-71110, Greece.

Opioids and nitric oxide (NO) interact functionally in different systems. NO-generating agents decrease the activity of opioid agonists, prevent opioid tolerance, and are used in opioid withdrawal syndromes.

There exist, however, few reports indicating a direct interaction of the two systems.

T47D human breast cancer cells in culture express opioid receptors, and opioid agonists inhibit their growth, while they release high amounts of the NO-related molecules NO(2-)/NO(3-)to the culture medium.

We have used this system to assay a possible direct interaction of opiergic and nitric oxide systems.

Our results show that delta- or mu-acting opioid agonists do not modify the release of NO(2-)/NO(3-). In contrast, kappa-acting opioid agonists (ethylketocyclazocine, and alpha(S1)-casomorphine) decrease the release of NO(2-)/NO(3-), in a time- and dose-dependent manner.

The general opioid antagonist diprenorphine (10(-6) M) produce a similar NO(2-)/NO(3-)release inhibition, indicating a possible non-opioid-receptor mediated phenomenon.

In addition, ethylketocyclazocine, alpha(S1)-casomorphin and diprenorphine directly inhibit NOS activity: agonists, interact with both calcium-dependent and independent NOS-isoforms, while the antagonist diprenorphine modifies only the activity of the calcium-dependent fraction of the enzyme.

Analysis of this interaction revealed that opioids modify the dimeric active form of NOS, through binding to the reductase part of the molecule, acting as non-competitive inhibitors of the enzyme. This interaction opens interesting new possibilities for tumor biology and breast cancer therapy.

PMID: 11526449

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Breast cancer