Drinking an eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice daily increased by nearly four times the period during which PSA levels in men treated for prostate cancer remained stable, a three-year UCLA study has found.
The study involved 50 men who had undergone surgery or radiation but quickly experienced increases in prostate-specific antigen or PSA, a biomarker that indicates the presence of cancer. UCLA researchers measured "doubling time," how long it takes for PSA levels to double, a signal that the cancer is progressing, said Dr. Allan Pantuck, an associate professor of urology, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and lead author of the study.
Doubling time is crucial in prostate cancer, Pantuck said, because patients who have short doubling times are more likely to die from their cancer. The average doubling time is about 15 months. In the UCLA study, Pantuck and his team observed increases in doubling times from 15 months to 54 months, an almost four-fold increase.
"That's a big increase. I was surprised when I saw such an improvement in PSA numbers," Pantuck said. "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."
That's a huge increase in doubling times. If you get diagnosed with prostate cancer now and pomegranate juice extends your life by several years then you might live long enough for a cure to be developed.
Pomegranate juice contains all sorts of good things.
Pomegranate juice is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants, which are believed to protect the body from free-radical damage. It also contains poly-phenols, natural antioxidant compounds found in green tea, as well as isoflavones commonly found in soy, and ellagic acid, which is believed to play a role in cancer cell death.
"There are many substances in pomegranate juice that may be prompting this response," Pantuck said. "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."
Some of the men have kept their PSA levels from rising for 3 years with pomegranate.
Pantuck said he has men on the study more than three years out who are not being treated for prostate cancer other than drinking pomegranate juice and their PSA levels continue to be suppressed.
"The juice seems to be working," he said.
Some of you ladies might be thinking that pomegranate against cancer is just a guy thing. Not so. Back in 2001 an Israeli team found evidence of pomegranate against breast cancer.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology research team presented two studies at an international conference in June indicating that pomegranate seed oil triggers apoptosis -- a self-destruct mechanism in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, pomegranate juice can be toxic to most estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, while leaving normal breast cells largely unaffected. Estrogen is a hormone often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis.
In the first study, laboratory-grown breast cancer cells were treated for three days with pomegranate seed oil. The researchers observed apoptosis in 37 to 56 percent of the cancer cells, depending upon the dose of oil applied.
In the second study, both normal and cancerous breast cells were exposed to fermented pomegranate juice (pomegranate wine) and pomegranate peel extracts, which contain polyphenols (powerful antioxidants). The vast majority of the normal cells remained unaffected by the two pomegranate derivatives. But more than 75 percent of the estrogen-dependent cancer cells, and approximately half of the non-estrogen dependent cancer cells were destroyed by exposure to these same pomegranate products.
"Pomegranates are unique in that the hormonal combinations inherent in the fruit seem to be helpful both for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer," explains Dr. Ephraim Lansky, who headed the studies. "Pomegranates seem to replace needed estrogen often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis, while selectively destroying estrogen-dependent cancer cells."
Pomegranate might also reduce the odds of getting skin cancer. Still other scientists are using liquid chromatography to isolate components in pomegranate with the strongest anti-cancer effects.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2006 July 05 08:22 PM Aging Diet Cancer Studies|