Vitamin A-found in sweet potatoes and carrots-can reverse pre-cancerous cells such as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), one of the most common early warning signals of breast cancer.
Retinoic acid, a form of the vitamin, makes pre-cancer cells in the breast healthy again, although it cannot reverse full-blown cancer, say researchers from Thomas Jefferson University.
They tested the vitamin on four different lines of cancer cells, at various stages of the cancer's life, from pre-cancerous-which is the stage when DCIS is diagnosed-through to aggressive and spreading (metastatic).
The retinoic acid, which is one of the chemicals that the body converts vitamin A into, turned pre-cancerous cells healthy in terms of their shape and genetic signature. The cancerous cells, however, didn't respond to the vitamin.
(Source: International Journal of Oncology, 2014; doi: 10.3892/ijo.2014.2354)