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Health News Archive 344 - Prostate Cancer
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Pomegranate Slows Progression of Prostate Cancer in Humans

The July, 2006 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research published the finding of a team at UCLA's Johnsson Cancer Center that a daily glass of pomegranate juice increased the period of time during which prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels remained stable in prostate cancer patients by a factor of nearly four. Prostate specific antigen is a marker for prostate cancer that is monitored during treatment for the disease, and which should be undetectable after treatment. A rapidly increasing PSA value as ascertained by PSA doubling time indicates cancer progression and an increased risk of death.

In the current study, 50 men treated for prostate cancer with surgery or radiation that subsequently experienced PSA doubling in an average of 15 months were instructed to drink 8 ounces of pomegranate juice per day. Eighty percent of the men experienced a reduction in PSA velocity, with doubling times increasing to an average of 54 months.

"That's a big increase," lead researcher and UCLA associate professor of urology, Dr Allan Pantuck commented. "I was surprised when I saw such an improvement in PSA numbers. In older men 65 to 70 who have been treated for prostate cancer, we can give them pomegranate juice and it may be possible for them to outlive their risk of dying from their cancer. We're hoping we may be able to prevent or delay the need for other therapies usually used in this population such as hormone treatment or chemotherapy, both of which bring with them harmful side effects."

"There are many substances in pomegranate juice that may be prompting this response," Dr Pantuck added. "We don't know if it's one magic bullet or the combination of everything we know is in this juice. My guess is that it's probably a combination of elements, rather than a single component."

Source: Allan J. Pantuck, John T. Leppert, Nazy Zomorodian, William Aronson, Jenny Hong, R. James Barnard, Navindra Seeram, Harley Liker, Hejing Wang, Robert Elashoff, David Heber, Michael Aviram, Louis Ignarro, and Arie Belldegrun. Phase II Study of Pomegranate Juice for Men with Rising Prostate-Specific Antigen following Surgery or Radiation for Prostate Cancer; Clin Cancer Res 2006 12: 4018-4026.

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