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The Potential Effects of Pomegranate Polyphenols on Human Prostate Cancer

October 7, 2010 -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has funded numerous studies on the role of nutrition and antioxidants on carcinogensis and chemoprevention.  Important progress has been made in understanding the effects of these factors on patients’ likelihood of cancer diagnosis and their outcomes.

In early laboratory models of prostate cancer, pomegranate supplements were demonstrated to delay cancer progression, reduce cell growth, increase cell death and reduce PSA in prostate cancer cell lines and xenografts.

The first human clinical research study was conducted on patients with low PSA levels and low tumor grades by Dr. Allan Pantuck at UCLA.  The data showed a prolongation of PSA doubling time of 54 month compared to 15 months before diets were supplemented with pomegranate juice.  This initial study has prompted further research to assess the potential antioxidant benefits of polyphenols found in pomegranate juice on prostate cancer.    

Phase II clinical trials with 100 patients at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University are currently being conducted by Michael Carducci, MD.  This study is designed to investigate the antioxidant effect of pomegranate polyphenols by measuring the changes in prostate cancer markers in men with more advanced cancer and includes men with a much broader range of PSA levels and tumor grades. The complete findings from this investigation were presented at the GU ASCO in February 2011 and can be found here.

A third study, investigating the effects of pomegranate polyphenols on men prior to radical prostatectomy is designed to study the direct mechanism of action on prostate cancer is about to commence at Duke University.

PCF believes that published data on pomegranate-associated antioxidants should continue to be evaluated and that further studies are merited to better understand how antioxidants may slow prostate cancer progression, determine optimal dose and schedule of antioxidant intake (in either raw or concentrated forms) and assess the overall benefit, along with any side effects, that patients might experience.

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