Modified Citrus Pectin holds promise against prostate cancer

Researchers at Columbia University recently analyzed the positive effects of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) on human and mouse prostate cancer cell lines. The results, as reported by lead researcher Dr. Aaron Katz in the most recent publication of Integrative Cancer Therapies, show that MCP inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent cancer cells in a time and dose-dependent manner. "Along with diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, MCP helps my patients keep the cancer at bay and slows its growth, thereby reducing its negative impact on their life," says Dr. Geo Espinosa, Director of the Integrative Urology Center at NYU.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, and 1 in 6 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. Dr. Jun Yan, lead author, explains, "Our findings clearly demonstrate that MCP possesses anti-prostate cancer properties in both androgen-dependent (hormonal sensitive) and androgen-independent (hormonal resistant) prostate cancer cells. These results strongly suggest that MCP can be a promising chemopreventive and therapeutic agent against this malignancy."

Modified Citrus Pectin is derived from the pith of citrus fruit, and modified to meet specific molecular chain and weight characteristics. Data suggests that MCP interferes with the binding properties of cancer cell surface proteins called galectins. 

"Considering the low molecular weight of the MCP used in the study," Dr. Yan continues, "we speculate that this new MCP will be more readily absorbed in the human body, which means that the relative concentration reaching the prostate gland will be greater. Therefore, taking this MCP may be an excellent way to prevent prostate cancer, given that prostate cancer is regarded as a preventable cancer. Moreover, this MCP may be an effective adjuvant medicine for cancer therapy."

Rich in a polysaccharide component called galactosyl, MCP binds to galectin proteins and prevents cancerous cells from adhering to each other and to the inner wall of blood vessels, thereby inhibiting both tumor growth and angiogenesis. This study supports the results of previous research on MCP, which demonstrated clinical benefit in patients with advanced solid tumors, as well as its ability to lengthen PSA doubling time in men with recurrent prostate cancer. It also showed ability to induce apoptosis through the inhibition of the MAPK signal pathway and activation of Caspase-3.

Dr. Isaac Eliaz (, whom the study authors acknowledge for his development of the Modified Citrus Pectin used in their most recent analysis, notes the importance of this new research, saying, "Androgen-dependent prostate cancer is the more common type of prostate cancer, and the one more often found in localized and less aggressive disease.  What is most significant is the ability of this specific type of MCP to induce apoptosis in androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines, which is the more aggressive cancer that can metastasize and lead to death. Slowing down the progression of this cancer has a direct effect on prolonging the life of these individuals." 

"The anti-metastatic role of MCP is well established," continues Dr. Eliaz. "The fact that it can have a direct effect on the cancer itself makes it important in prevention, in early stage prostate cancer (which is usually hormonal sensitive-androgen dependent), and in later stage advanced prostate cancer. Its safety and the fact that it doesn't work via hormonal induced mechanisms of action makes it an excellent agent to be used in conjunction with other therapies."

Ongoing research on this MCP in prostate as well as breast cancer continues to show encouraging results, and additional studies are forthcoming.

"It's not a cure," Dr. Geo Espinosa explains, "but MCP has helped produce qualitative results for my patients, and as a direction, it is worth pursuing more research to see what else nature can provide to help us defeat cancer completely." 


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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