New study reveals four nutrients that lower PSA and slow cancer progression.
The majority of newly diagnosed prostate cancer cases have low- or intermediate-risk malignancies. For men with low risk malignancies, oncologists sometimes practice "watchful waiting" or "active surveillance," monitoring parameters such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to evaluate tumor progression. (3), (4) This approach can delay the need for aggressive treatment, and in many cases is turning out to reduce or eliminate the need for surgery, chemo, or radiation therapy. (3)
During this period of watchful waiting, there is an additional option that has been shown to lower PSA. A landmark study from the United Kingdom has demonstrated that a combination of four foods--a fruit (pomegranate), an herb (green tea), a spice (turmeric), and a vegetable (broccoli)--concentrated into a pill, dramatically slowed markers of prostate cancer growth by a median of nearly 64%. (5)
Working closely with the National Cancer Research Network, this formula was developed based on extensive documentation showing how certain foods function to slow prostate cancer growth. We begin this report with a critical review of this groundbreaking study conducted on human prostate cancer patients.
LANDMARK UK STUDY: FOOD PILL SLOWS EVIDENCE OF PROSTATE CANCER GROWTH
In June of 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology included in its program a report on a "food pill" that had a dramatic impact on men with prostate cancer. (5) For those who don't know, the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is where many cancer treatment breakthroughs are announced to the world.
The study reported at the ASCO conference was an exploration of the role of four polyphenol-rich foods with known anti-cancer properties. (5) The trial development team worked in partnership with the UK government's National Cancer Research Network, which ensured the highest scientific credibility and quality assurance. They extensively scrutinized the clinical and laboratory data for foods that have a high chance of an anti-cancer effect. They came up with a specific blend of four cancer-fighting foods concentrated into a capsule designed to be taken twice daily. They then set out to test its effect in the most rigorous of scientific trials--a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial within which they examined its effect on prostate-specific antigen, or PSA.
The researchers recruited 203 men aged 53 to 89 years (average age 74 years) with prostate cancer proven by biopsy. (5) Fifty-nine percent of the men had not yet undergone any treatment and were being followed closely with periodic PSA measurements, while 41% had already had a radical intervention (surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation) but had relapsed with climbing PSA levels.
The subjects were then randomly assigned to receive either a twice-daily oral capsule containing a blend of pomegranate seed, green tea, turmeric, and broccoli, or an identical placebo for 6 months. At baseline, there were no significant differences between the two groups, except that the placebo group was on average 4 years older than the treatment group. Neither the doctors supervising the trial nor the men knew whether they were taking a placebo or the test product.
The men in the study had their PSA levels measured at baseline, at 3 months, and at 6 months, to determine the rate of rise. The results were remarkable.
In the placebo group, PSA levels rose by a median of 78.5% over the 6-month period, while in the supplemented group, PSA rose by a median of only 14.7%, a statistically significant 63.8% difference. (5)
In addition, and importantly, 46% of men in the supplemented group had a stable or lower PSA by the end of the study, compared with just 14% of the placebo group; again, this was a significant difference, and suggested that in nearly half of the treated men, their cancers had stopped growing or had even regressed.
In another remarkable measure, just 7.4% of supplemented men being monitored by active surveillance or watchful waiting required a change in management plan, while 26% of those in the placebo group required a change in their management plan. (5) In other words, the supplement directly supported the decision to defer care and avoid painful, costly, and invasive procedures in this group of men.
Following the success of this trial, the research team is designing a range of new scientific trials involving this unique fruit and vegetable blend collaborating with academic cancer centers across the world. These include men already taking androgen deprivation therapies, or those in PSA remission following successful primary treatments such as surgery, brachytherapy, or radiotherapy. They are also partnering with clinicians outside the urology cancer field to determine its effect on osteoarthritis, chronic breast pain, hot flushes, and even tinnitus, and hopefully the results of these trials will be available by early 2015.
Let's now look more closely at each of the ingredients in this new prostate-cancer-fighting food pill, to see what each one brings uniquely to the formula and how each reinforces the other to reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression.
Pomegranate compounds suppress enzymes in the intestine and liver that convert certain molecules (procarcinogens) into cancer-causing agents. (6), (7) As it relates to those with prostate cancer, the active constituents in pomegranate have proven to be potent inducers of malignant cell death through apoptosis. (8-16)
During the development of androgen independence, prostate cancer cells are known to increase testosterone synthesis inside their own cells, which maintains cancer cell growth in the absence of significant amounts of circulating testosterone. Overexpression of the androgen receptor occurs in androgen-independent prostate cancer and has been proposed as another mechanism promoting the development of androgen independence. Pomegranate has been shown to inhibit expression of the androgen receptor and androgen synthesizing genes in prostate cells, which helps block an important survival mechanism utilized by prostate cancer cells to escape eradication. (17)
Multiple basic laboratory and human studies have demonstrated that pomegranate treatment, specifically various active compounds, slows PSA doubling time and reduces production of PSA in malignant prostate cells. (12), (14), (18), (19)
In one recent study, pomegranate juice treatment in men with rising PSA after surgery or radiotherapy resulted in a significant delay in PSA doubling time (the time it takes PSA levels to rise) from a mean of 15 months before treatment to 54 months following supplementation. (14) Another study found more modest, but still significant delay in doubling time, from 11.9 months to 18.8 months. (18)
Animal studies demonstrate additional anti-cancer activity in pomegranates. In a specialized mouse model of prostate cancer, 100% of untreated mice developed palpable tumors within 20 weeks, compared to as low as 20% in the group treated with pomegranate extract; the treated animals lived for up to a median of 92 weeks, more than twice as long as the 43 weeks survived by untreated mice. (20)
These remarkable results are observed in part because naturally occurring pomegranate polyphenols are concentrated in prostate tissue, facilitating their protective effects. (19) Once in the prostate, these polyphenols selectively inhibit cancer cell proliferation, leaving healthy prostate tissue relatively unaffected. (9), (17) This is a potential "epigenetic" effect: pomegranate polyphenols decrease the expression of proteins that cancer cells use to support their rapid rate of replication. (11), (15), (16), (21)
Added prostate cancer-fighting benefits of pomegranate include reduction of the inflammation that drives cancer progression, suppression of new blood vessel growth within a forming prostate tumor, and increased expression of genes that keep cells clumped together normally, thereby inhibiting the invasive potential of prostate cancer. (13), (22-24)
Green tea makes a unique contribution to the prostate-cancer-fighting pill as a result of a special combination of naturally occurring polyphenols called catechins. (25-28)
Studies show that one of green tea's catechins, EGCG, accumulates specifically in prostate tissue, where it selectively kills cancer cells (leaving healthy cells unaffected) and reduces serum PSA levels. (29-34)
In a further demonstration of the cancer-suppressing role of green tea, when researchers studied men with a pre-cancerous condition called prostate intraepithelial neoplasia, they found only one tumor after one year in the 30 men given green tea polyphenols, while the 30 placebo recipients developed nine cancers. (30) The treatment was safe, and as an extra bonus was found to reduce other lower urinary tract symptoms as well.
Green tea is already acknowledged as a cancer preventive in Japan because of epidemiological studies documenting prostate cancer risk reduction of up to 86% in men who drink the most green tea. (31), (35-37)
Laboratory studies point to still other anti-cancer effects from green tea. Its components reduce genetic expression and activity of androgen receptors that most prostate cancers need to survive. (34), (38-40) Green tea also induces human cancer cell death by apoptosis through a variety of epigenetic mechanisms. (24), (41), (42) And recent studies reveal polyphenols in brewed green tea shut off new blood vessel growth, important in slowing cancer development. (26)
Turmeric's unique contribution to the prostate-cancer-fighting pill is its extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties, provided chiefly by its natural primary component, curcumin. (43), (44) Reducing inflammation with curcumin reduces the metastases that ultimately kill prostate cancer patients. (45-48) Curcumin also down-regulates genes involved in adhesion, motility, and invasiveness that prostate cancer cells need to invade and spread. (49)
Curcumin specifically inhibits prostate cancer cell production of PSA by blocking its genetic expression. (50), (51) At the same time, it also reduces activation of the androgen receptors on cancer cells that trigger increased production of PSA. (52), (53)
But the whole turmeric root also contains important oils and other substances that enhance curcumin's absorption and have health benefits of their own, including anti-cancer actions. (54)
Turmeric's components also inhibit cancer cell proliferation, restore cancer cells' ability to die normally by apoptosis, and decrease the density of blood vessels needed for tumor expansion. (43) By modulating cell signaling mechanisms, curcumin arrests the out-of-control cell replication cycle typical in cancer. (55), (56)
Curcumin also sensitizes cancer cells to chemo- and radiation therapy, as well as to the intrinsic "death factor" called TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), one of the body's natural cancer-suppressing mechanisms. (57-59) Remarkably, these sensitizing effects are not found on normal, healthy cells, so they remain protected during treatment. (59)
The compound has also been found to block growth factors and androgen receptors used by cancer cells to support themselves. (60-62)
Broccoli's unique contribution to the prostate-cancer-fighting pill is its ability to up-regulate phase II detoxifying enzymes in gut and liver tissue, enabling the body to render harmless thousands of potentially carcinogenic molecules in our diet. (63-66) In addition, the naturally occurring sulfur-rich broccoli constituents sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), and others have now been identified as potent epigenetic regulators. (63), (67-69)
These broccoli compounds control enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDAC) that regulate the genes encoded in DNA--including those responsible for promoting or suppressing cancer formation. (63), (67-69) Known collectively as histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, such molecules are prime objectives of Big Pharma. (70), (71)
Men with high consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have a 40% lower risk of invasive prostate cancer. (72) And in animal studies, broccoli feeding reduced prostate tumor weight by 42% in prostate cancer-prone mice and suppressed growth of implanted human prostate cancer cells by 40%. (68), (73)
Broccoli compounds reduce PSA production as a result of slowing prostate cancer cell replication in laboratory cell culture models. (74-76) They appear to inhibit expression of the androgen receptors that prostate cancer needs to survive. (75)
Broccoli's other prostate cancer-fighting properties include inhibition of growth and transcription factors that are activated in malignancies, restoration of normal tumor suppressor genes, and increased production of apoptosis-inducing proteins. (77-82)
Prostate cancer is a paradox: Its typically slow growth rate makes it possible to treat if discovered early, but once it has metastasized, it is often lethal.
The combination of four widely-recognized cancer-fighting foods, pomegranate, green tea, turmeric, and broccoli, in a single twice-daily pill has now been shown to significantly reduce the rate of rise of PSA, the tumor marker that indicates progression and invasion of prostate cancer. (5)
This new pill appears to work by providing cancer-suppressing actions at a wide variety of targets. All of this pill's components have the capacity to cause favorable epigenetic changes, reversing the gene damage that leads to cancer development and restoring normal cancer suppression mechanisms. (11), (15), (16), (25), (41), (42), (49), (63), (67-69)
In a tightly controlled clinical trial, putting them together in a single pill was shown to be effective at slowing the growth of existing prostate cancers and preventing surgical and other side effect-prone procedures.
If you or someone you know suffers from prostate cancer, or is interested in preventing it, this new functional food pill, or its individual constituents, should be part of their daily program.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension[R] Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
RELATED ARTICLE: WHY PSA MATTERS IN PROSTATE CANCER
PSA and PSA kinetics are the primary markers to follow disease progress in men with known cancer of the prostate gland. (83), (84) But PSA is more than just a marker; we now realize that it is an enzyme that degrades the matrix proteins holding cells together. (28) That is one way the cancer invades and spreads.
A tumor that produces a rapidly rising PSA, therefore, is one at risk for breaking out of the prostate gland itself and spreading either into local tissue or forming distant metastases, both of which place the patient at high risk of death. (85)
That's why physicians and patients should follow PSA levels carefully once a prostate tumor has been discovered. And that's why therapies that lower PSA are not just producing an encouraging marker, they are in fact demonstrably slowing disease progression and lowering the patient's risk of dying.
RELATED ARTICLE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Functional Foods as Powerful Combatants Against Prostate Cancer
* Prostate cancer becomes a killer when it invades or metastasizes; prior to those events it can be detected and successfully treated.
* But too many men with prostate cancer undergo needless and invasive surgery, chemo-, or radiation therapy.
* A new pill containing concentrated forms of four functional foods has now been shown to significantly slow the rise of PSA, the major marker of prostate cancer progression.
* The components, pomegranate, green tea, turmeric, and broccoli, have all independently been shown to have protective effects on prostate tissue; a new study demonstrates that they can work together in concert to slow the disease in men who already have prostate cancer.
* Each food component works by different, but powerful, epigenetic mechanisms to modify the way prostate cells regulate their growth and development.
* Using all four in one simple pill optimizes both prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, without significant side effects.
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|Title Annotation:||REPORT; prostate-specific antigen|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2013|
|Previous Article:||Prostate cancer prevention controversy.|
|Next Article:||Impact of diet on prostate cancer risk and mortality.|