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Vitamin E derivative active against prostate cancer tumors in mice

Posted Oct 20 2010 12:00am

The SELECT trial , carried out between 2001 and 2008, clearly showed that vitamin E supplements had no effect on the prevention of prostate cancer in men over 50 years of age. However, there is still a belief in many quarters that vitamin E derivatives may have clinical activity against prostate cancer.

Ling and colleagues have already shown that one such category of derivatives, the γ-tocotrienols, can inhibit prostate cancer cell invasion and sensitize prostate cancer cells to docetaxel-induced apoptosis (programmed cell death). Most recently, Luk et al. have also shown that  the γ-tocotrienols can downregulate the expression of markers of prostate cancer stem cells.

In a media release from the Queensland University of Technology , Dr. Patrick Ling, a leading member of this research team, is quoted as stating that, in animal trials, γ-tocotrienols had completely inhibited prostate cancer tumor formation in > 70 percent of mice that were initially implanted with prostate cancer cells and then fed the γ-tocotrienols in water. In the remaining cases, tumor regrowth was considerably reduced. By comparison, while prostate cancer tumors reformed in 100 per cent of a control group that did not receive γ-tocotrienols in their diet.

This research is being sponsored by a Singapore-based company called Davos Life Science . As we have said many times before, the ability to demonstrate such effects in laboratory models is just an opening step toward the possibility of showing a clinical effect in patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, this work also exemplifies the breadth of global research into the attempt to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.

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