Pomegranate juice slows PSA acceleration rate after prostate cancer surgery, radiation

July 01, 2006

PHILADELPHIA - Pomegranate juice packs a punch on prostate cancer that prolongs post-surgery PSA doubling time, drives down cancer cell proliferation and causes prostate cancer cells to die, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. Researchers at the Jonsson Cancer Center at UCLA reported that patients with recurrent prostate cancer who drank pomegranate after surgery or radiation treatment saw their PSA blood content levels double after about 54 months. By comparison, PSA levels in the same patients prior to drinking the daily doses of eight-ounce pomegranate juice accelerated more quickly, doubling their PSA levels in only 15 months.

PSA, or prostate specific antigen, is a protein marker for prostate cancer. The faster PSA levels increase in the blood of men after treatment, the greater their potential for dying of prostate cancer.

"The velocity of the increase in PSA is decreased by 35 percent among those who drank the pomegranate juice," said Allan Pantuck, M.D., associate professor, Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, and lead author of the paper.

"We are hoping that pomegranate juice offers a novel strategy for prolonging the doubling time in men who have been treated for prostate cancer," Dr. Pantuck added.

According to the study, sera from patients after treatment yielded a net decrease of almost 30 percent in the numbers of prostate cancer cells raised in culture. Similarly, cultured sera from these patients decreased cell proliferation by 12 percent, compared to cells grown with sera from the men taken prior to initiation of the pomegranate treatment program. In addition, treated sera induced 17 percent more programmed cell death, or apoptosis, than sera from the men prior to treatment.

Additional exploratory experiments conducted by Dr. Pantuck and his colleagues examined antioxidant characteristics of the fruit juice.

"Pomegranate is high in antioxidants, and there is good evidence that inflammation plays an important role in prostate cancer," he said.

Dr. Pantuck and his colleagues detected a 23 percent increase in nitric oxide sera content from patients after they began their daily pomegranate regimen. These studies were conducted in the UCLA laboratory of Louis Ignarro, Ph.D., the Nobel laureate who contributed key scientific findings to define the role of nitric oxide in health and disease.

As with vitamin C and other antioxidants, ellagic acid - a primary antioxidant in pomegranate juice - works to quench molecules that oxidate, or add oxygen, to cellular and circulatory proteins and fats, altering their biological function.

"By quenching oxidative species with antioxidants, you are basically preserving circulating nitric oxide, so it can have a greater biologic effect," Dr. Pantuck said. "By decreasing the amount of free radicals, you are probably decreasing the circulating factors that are destroying nitric oxide."

While their findings on nitric oxide, cell proliferation and apoptosis served as exploratory endpoints, Dr. Pantuck stressed that clinical trials with more precise design are necessary to confirm the biological role the fruit plays in prolonging or preventing recurrence of prostate cancer in men.

"We don't believe we are curing anyone from prostate cancer," he said.

"In our initial trial, although a third of patients experienced a decrease in their PSA during the study, nobody's PSA went to zero.

"The PSA doubling time, however, was longer. For many men, this may extend the years after surgery or radiation that they remain recurrence free and their life expectancy is extended. They may be able to prevent the need to undergo additional therapies, such as radiation, hormonal or chemotherapies."
-end-
Dr. Pantuck's colleagues who contributed to this study included Ignarro, John Leppert, Nazy Zomarodian, William Aronson, Jenny Hong, James Bernard, Navindra Seeram, Harley Liker, Hejing Wang, Robert Elashoff, David Heber, and Arie Belldegrun from the departments of Urology, Medicine, Physiologic Science or Biomathematics at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. Michael Aviram from the Technion Faculty of Medicine, the Rambam Medical Center, Bat - Galim, Haifa, Israel, also contributed to these studies.

Funding to support these studies came from the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Revocable Trust. The Resnicks are the owners of the POM Wonderful Company. Additional NIH funding (P50CA92131 and IR01CA100938) supported portions of the science conducted in the course of these experiments.

Editors Note: A pdf copy of this article is available. Please email communications@aacr.org to request a copy.

The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 24,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 60 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication, CR, is a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.

American Association for Cancer Research

Related Prostate Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Low risk of cancer spread on active surveillance for early prostate cancer
Men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer have very low rates - one percent or less - of cancer spread (metastases) or death from prostate cancer, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Urology®, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

ESMO 2020: Breast cancer drug set to transform prostate cancer treatment
A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancer can extend the lives of some men with prostate cancer and should become a new standard treatment for the disease, concludes a major trial which is set to change clinical practice.

Major trial shows breast cancer drug can hit prostate cancer Achilles heel
A drug already licensed for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers is more effective than targeted hormone therapy at keeping cancer in check in some men with advanced prostate cancer, a major clinical trial reports.

The Lancet: Prostate cancer study finds molecular imaging could transform management of patients with aggressive cancer
Results from a randomised controlled trial involving 300 prostate cancer patients find that a molecular imaging technique is more accurate than conventional medical imaging and recommends the scans be introduced into routine clinical practice.

Common genetic defect in prostate cancer inspires path to new anti-cancer drugs
Researchers found that, in prostate cancer, a mutation leading to the loss of one allele of a tumor suppressor gene known as PPP2R2A is enough to worsen a tumor caused by other mutations.

First prostate cancer therapy to target genes delays cancer progression
For the first time, prostate cancer has been treated based on the genetic makeup of the cancer, resulting in delayed disease progression, delayed time to pain progression, and potentially extending lives in patients with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer, reports a large phase 3 trial.

Men taking medications for enlarged prostate face delays in prostate cancer diagnosis
University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers report that men treated with medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) experienced a two-year delay in diagnosis of their prostate cancer and were twice as likely to have advanced disease upon diagnosis.

CNIO researchers confirm links between aggressive prostate cancer and hereditary breast cancer
The study has potential implications for families with members suffering from these types of tumours who are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

Distinguishing fatal prostate cancer from 'manageable' cancer now possible
Scientists at the University of York have found a way of distinguishing between fatal prostate cancer and manageable cancer, which could reduce unnecessary surgeries and radiotherapy.

Researchers find prostate cancer drug byproduct can fuel cancer cells
A genetic anomaly in certain men with prostate cancer may impact their response to common drugs used to treat the disease, according to new research at Cleveland Clinic.

Read More: Prostate Cancer News and Prostate Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.