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Health News Archive 52 - Prostate
to structure/function index


Lycopene Decreases Prostate Cancer

A study published in the Fall 2004 issue of Journal of Medicinal Food demonstrated that Lycopene supplements decreased the proliferation of cancer cells.

STUDY: Many studies on cancer now test apoptosis, the natural elimination of harmful cancer-causing cells. In this study, researchers treated LCNaP human prostate cancer cells with a lycopene supplement to determine whether lycopene would induce apoptosis to eliminate the cells or even simply suppress their growth. Treatment included 0.1, 1 and 5 uM doses of lycopene followed by examination after 6, 24, and 48 hours. The scientists also looked for changes in the cells' cycle, to identify any slowing-down or speeding-up of cell growth due to the lycopene.

FINDINGS: Researchers saw a 31 percent inhibition in cancerous cell growth in lycopene-treated cells when compared to the placebo-treated cells after 48 hours of treatment with the 1 uM lycopene formulation. The maximum inhibitory effect, however, was seen with the 5 uM dose, at each time interval. Apoptosis was present at the 5 uM formulation at all time points and was heightened during the 24- and 48-hour treatments. There were no changes seen in the cell cycle of the placebo-treated groups whereas the scientists observed a dramatic 16 percent reduction in cancerous cell presence in the lycopene-treated cells during a significant cell-growth cycle (S-phase).

The results indicate that lycopene supplements decreased the number of cancer cells likely by increasing apoptosis and slowing cancer cell growth cycles. These findings suggest that supplements containing lycopene may have cancer-fighting abilities.

DISCUSSION/BACKGROUND INFORMATION:  Several scientific studies have shown that men who frequently consume tomato-based products like pizza and pasta sauce have a lower risk for developing prostate cancer than those who eat fewer tomato-based products. Many of these studies have attributed such benefits to the lycopene found in those foods. Drs. Eun-Sun Hwang and Phyllis Bowen at the University of Illinois initiated the present study to isolate the mechanism of action of lycopene from that of other nutrients also found in tomato-based products.

Lycopene is considered one of the most potent antioxidants available in the food supply. Lycopene is a natural plant pigment that provides foods such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon and guava with their natural red hues. Aside from food sources, lycopene is also available as a single-entity dietary supplement, in formulas designed for men, in many one-a-day multivitamins and in some heart health formulations.

SOURCE: Hwang ES, Bowen PE. Cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis be lycopene in LNCaP Human Prostate Cancer Cells. J Med Food 2004: 7(3); 284-289.

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Green Tea Fights Prostate Cancer

A study published in the journal Cancer Research says the polyphenols in green tea help prevent the spread of prostate cancer.

That is because those green tea polyphenols, or GTP, target molecular pathways that shut down the proliferation and spread of tumor cells, as well as inhibit the growth of tumor nurturing blood vessels, write researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin., and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Their work is summarized in Wednesday's edition of the journal Cancer Research.

"Consumption of GTP led to reduced levels of IGF-1," said Dr. Hasan Mukhtar, the senior author of the paper.

"GTP also led to increased levels of one of the binding proteins for IGF-1, the insulin growth factor binding protein-3. These observations bear significance in light of studies that indicate increased levels of IGF-1 are associated with increased risk of several cancers, such as prostate, breast, lung and colon."

Source: Cancer Research, Dec 1, 2004.

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Tea Polyphenols Slow Prostate Cancer Cell Growth

In the first study of its kind to determine the absorption and antitumor effects of tea polyphenols in human tissue, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles found tea polyphenols in prostate tissue when subjects consumed tea for only a short amount of time. Polyphenols are the compounds in tea that have been found to be responsible for the many health benefits of the drink. The findings were reported at the Experimental Biology 2004 meeting held in April in Washington, DC.

Twenty prostate cancer patients scheduled for radical prostatectomy were administered five cups of green tea, five cups of black tea, or soda containing no polyphenols for five days. Blood was collected before and after the treatment period and serum added to prostate cancer cell line samples. Following the surgeries, polyphenols were detected in all of the prostates excised from men who received black tea, six out of eight of the prostates taken from men who received green tea, and in two out of five of those who received soda (which may have been because they were consuming chocolate or tea before the study). Serum obtained from participants after five days of drinking tea was associated with slower growth when added to the prostate cancer cell cultures compared to serum obtained before the treatment period. No reduction in cancer cell growth was observed when serum from men who drank soda for five days was administered to prostate cells.

Additionally, levels of polyamines, which have been associated with malignancy in humans, were found to be negatively correlated in the prostate with the presence of tea polyphenols .

Lead author Dr Susanne Henning, of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, believes that these findings suggest that black and green tea are promising dietary supplements for the prevention of prostate cancer.

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Modified Citrus Pectin Benefits Men with Recurring Prostate Cancer

Men diagnosed with recurring prostate cancer, in which conventional therapies have failed, may benefit from modified citrus pectin, a nutrient derived from citrus fruits.

The trial investigated the tolerability and effect of modified citrus pectin (Pecta-Sol) in 13 men with prostate cancer and biochemical prostate-specific antigen failure after radical prostatectomy, radiation or cryosurgery.  A total of 13 men were evaluated for tolerability and 10 for efficacy.  Each participant received modified citrus pectin in 800 mg capsules.  The total daily dosage was 18 capsules per day (14.4g) taken in three divided doses with eight ounces of water or juice.  Changes in the prostate-specific antigen doubling time (PSADT) of the 10 men were the primary end point in the study.  The PSADT increased in seven of the 10 men after taking modified citrus pectin for 12 months compared to before taking the supplement.  This study suggests that modified citrus pectin may lengthen the PSADT in men with recurrent prostate cancer.

Modified citrus pectin may have utility in men who are suffering from recurring prostate cancer, as well as a potentially useful preventive agent against the risk of prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Source: Guess BW, et al. Modified citrus pectin (MCP) increases the prostate-specific antigen doubling time in men with prostate cancer: a phase II pilot study.  Prostate Cancer Postatic Dis 2003; 6:301-4.

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