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Of prostate cancer and pomegranates

Posted Dec 12 2008 3:42pm

There is now a growing literature on the clinical potential of agents present in pomegranate juice, and specifically a biochemical known as delphinidin, in the prevention and management of cancers in general and prostate cancer in particular.

Just in recent months, for example, Yun et al. have published data from laboratory studies on the mechanism of action of delphinidin in colon cancer cells; Afaq et al. have reported that delphinidin is “an effective inhibitor of EGFR signaling in breast cancer cells;” Syed et al. have reviewed data on the possible roles of several agents, including delphinidin and pomegranate juice, in the prevention of prostate cancer specifically; and Rettig et al. have studied the effect of a “pomegranate extract” on the growth of androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines.

Almost all of this literature, to date, is laboratory data and not clinical data. As a consequence, we really don’t yet know whether something in pomegranate juice can specifically prevent the onset or the progression of prostate cancer in man. While there is a clear theoretical opportunity here, it may take years to actually establish a clinical benefit.

What should the patient or the average man who thinks he may be at risk for prostate cancer do under circumstances like these? Well in this case it seems as though the opportunity is fairly straightforward. If you like the taste and can afford the product, go for it! There are no known adverse effects associated with the daily consumption of pomegranates or pomegranate juice.

As with any use of dietary management to impact health, we would add the usual caution that a balanced diet is wise. If pomegranate juice becomes the only fluid you drink, you may be going “over the top.” Also, if you are on treatment with some type of drug for prostate cancer or for any other clinical condition, make sure that you talk to your doctor about this dietary change, just in case there are any reasons which pomegranate juice in significant quantities may present risks of interactions with the drugs you are taking. (For a comparative example, people who take statins to lower their cholsterol level are advised not to drink grapefruit juice because of the risk for an interaction.)

Filed under: Drugs in development, Management, Prevention, Treatment | Tagged: pomegranate, delphinidin

There is now a growing literature on the clinical potential of agents present in pomegranate juice, and specifically a biochemical known as delphinidin, in the prevention and management of cancers in general and prostate cancer in particular.

Just in recent months, for example, Yun et al. have published data from laboratory studies on the mechanism of action of delphinidin in colon cancer cells; Afaq et al. have reported that delphinidin is “an effective inhibitor of EGFR signaling in breast cancer cells;” Syed et al. have reviewed data on the possible roles of several agents, including delphinidin and pomegranate juice, in the prevention of prostate cancer specifically; and Rettig et al. have studied the effect of a “pomegranate extract” on the growth of androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines.

Almost all of this literature, to date, is laboratory data and not clinical data. As a consequence, we really don’t yet know whether something in pomegranate juice can specifically prevent the onset or the progression of prostate cancer in man. While there is a clear theoretical opportunity here, it may take years to actually establish a clinical benefit.

What should the patient or the average man who thinks he may be at risk for prostate cancer do under circumstances like these? Well in this case it seems as though the opportunity is fairly straightforward. If you like the taste and can afford the product, go for it! There are no known adverse effects associated with the daily consumption of pomegranates or pomegranate juice.

As with any use of dietary management to impact health, we would add the usual caution that a balanced diet is wise. If pomegranate juice becomes the only fluid you drink, you may be going “over the top.” Also, if you are on treatment with some type of drug for prostate cancer or for any other clinical condition, make sure that you talk to your doctor about this dietary change, just in case there are any reasons which pomegranate juice in significant quantities may present risks of interactions with the drugs you are taking. (For a comparative example, people who take statins to lower their cholsterol level are advised not to drink grapefruit juice because of the risk for an interaction.)

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