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Pomegranate preparations may help curb cancer growth


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Pomegranate preparations may help curb cancer growth

By Ben Wasserman - foodconsumer.org

Dec 21, 2006 - 9:45:29 PM

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Taking pomegranate fruit extract may help stop growth of lung cancer in humans, a new study suggests. Early studies have suggested that drinking pomegranate juice may help prevent progression of prostate cancer.

Lung cancer, a common and deadly cancer, is often found in its late stage and its prognosis resulting from conventional treatment is poor. Prostate cancer is not as deadly, but strikes 230,000 Americans each year, resulting in about 100,000 deaths a year.

As more and more people turn to alternative treatments, some researchers have aimed to find active dietary substances and use them to prevent and or cure cancer.

In the current study, Dr. Hasan Mukhtar, Halgaer Professor of Cancer Research at University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues intended to find if pomegranate fruit extract (PFE) has any inhibitory effect on growth of lung cancer cells.

The PFE was prepared by squeezing the edible portion of pomegranate fruit in 70% acetone and 30% water. Then the extract was filtered, freeze-dried and stored at -4 oC.

In the study, both normal human bronchial epithelial cells (NHBE) and human lung carcinoma A549 cells in vitro were treated with PFE for 72 hours.

After the treatment, the cancer cells significantly lost their viability while the normal cells did not get affected significantly, according to the study. Using 150 microgram PFE per ml, the cancer cell viability was reduced by 47 percent.

A further study of athymic nude mice implanted with A549 cells showed that oral administration of PFE in the mice significantly inhibited the tumor growth.

Dr Mukhtar and colleagues suggested in their article that "PFE can be a useful chemopreventive / chemotherapeutic agent against human lung cancer"

The results will appear in the January 2007 issue of the journal Carcinogenesis.

Earlier, Allan J. Pantuck, MD, assistant professor of urology at the University of California, Los Angeles and colleagues found in a study that pomegranate juice may help prevent the return of prostate cancer.

In their study, 48 men who had been treated for prostate cancer through surgery or radiation drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily until their disease progressed.

A protein-specific antigen (PSA) was tested in the men every three months during the study. A high level of PSA means a high risk for prostate cancer.

It took significantly longer time for PSA to double in those who drank pomegranate juice than in those who did not, 26 months in the former versus 14 months in the latter, according to the study.

Pantuck and colleagues suggested that polyphenolic flavonoids in the juice may be important for the effect.

The study was presented in San Antonio at the American Urological Association's 2005 Annual Meeting.

Mukhtar and colleagues also found that PFE possesses anticancer properties against cultured prostate cancer cells.

"We evaluated the antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties of PFE. PFE (10-100 microg/ml; 48 h) treatment of highly aggressive human prostate cancer PC3 cells resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth/cell viability and induction of apoptosis," Mukhtar and team wrote in their article.

Their results were published in the October 11, 2005 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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