Carrots 'can kill off tumour'

The chemical, which affects cell growth, proliferation and survival, can also rejuvenate the skin, and a weak version of it is used in anti-wrinkle face creams.

And, according to the scientists, the study points the way to developing promising cancer treatments based on it or other chemicals with a similar biological effect, the 'Daily Express' reported.

The scientists homed in on the key role played by a gene that activates retinoic acid's anti-cancer properties and their findings suggest that it can halt cancer progression early on, but not at later stages.

"There appears to be no way to revert the tumours with retinoic acid when they become too advanced," said lead author Dr Sandra Fernandez from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

But certain experimental drugs may increase the effectiveness of retinoic acid in later stages of breast cancer, she said, adding that these drugs were already being used to manage a certain type of leukaemia.

The study has been presented at American Association for Cancer Research in Florida.

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