Pomegranate juice may decrease PSA progression in patients with cancer recurrence after treatment

Because of their high content of antioxidants, pomegranate juice is frequently recommended for cancer prevention and overall wellness. While small studies have suggested a role against prostate carcinogenesis, no organized trials have been published until now.

In the July issue of Clinical Cancer Research, Pantuck and colleagues from UCLA report on the first Phase II study evaluating the efficacy of pomegranate juice against prostate cancer recurrence.

A total of 105 patients were enrolled in a phase II study accruing patients with a rising PSA after prostatectomy or radiation therapy. All patients had serum PSA levels ranging between 0.2 and 5 ng/ml and a Gleason score of 7 or less. All men received 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily until progression. Patient serum was used for concurrent prostate cancer cell-line correlative studies.

After beginning treatment, there was a statistically significant increase in PSA doubling time from 15 months at baseline to 54 months after treatment (P < 0.001). Interestingly, cell proliferation vitro assays using LNCaP cell lines with serum from patients taking pomegranate juice showed a 12% reduction in cell proliferation and a 17% increase in apoptosis (P < 0.01 for both). There was also a 23% increase in serum nitric oxide (P < 0.01) and a significant (P < 0.02) decrease in the sensitivity of serum lipid oxidation after juice consumption.

This provocative study is the first organized trial studying the efficacy of pomegranate juice for the prevention of prostate cancer recurrence. While the endpoint of the study was PSA progression, this well performed study with a translational design also revealed laboratory evidence of a potential role in decreasing cell proliferation and reducing oxidative stress. We anxiously await the results of the placebo-controlled study.

Written by Ricardo Sanchez-Ortiz, MD, - UroToday

Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jul 1;12(13):4018-4026

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