Nutritional approach to prostate cancer

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced in the prostate. High serum levels of PSA are associated with prostate cancer as well as inflammation (Roddam, Duffy, Hamdy, Ward, Patnick, Price, Rimmer, Sturgeon, White & Allen, 2005). Chronic inflammation within the prostate gland can promote carcinogenesis (MacLennan, Eisenberg, Fleshman, Taylor, Fu, Resnick, Gupta, 2006). For this reason, integrative strategies that will reduce PSA may prove to be beneficial in preventing the onset of prostate cancer. Moreover, PSA increases after ejaculation, and thus, men are encouraged to complete testing 24 hours after ejaculation before reporting to pathology (Fricker, 1996).

In a recent study, Japanese researchers evaluated the effect of a combination of curcumin (a turmeric extract) (20 µM) and soy isoflavones (10µg/ml) on prostate cancer cells, and patients diagnosed with elevated levels of PSA (> 10 ng/ml) (Ide, Tokiwa, Sakamaki, Nishio, Isotani, Muto, Hama, Masuda, Horie, 2010). In this study, cells' treated with curcumin and isoflavones showed a marked reduction in PSA production (Ide, Tokiwa, Sakamaki, Nishio, Isotani, Muto, Hama, Masuda, Horie, 2010). Of the 85 participants involved in the human arm of the study, subjects undertaking active treatment (40mg of soy isoflavone combined with 100mg of curcumin daily for 6 months) showed a marked decrease in PSA at the conclusion of the study (from 18.8 ng/ml +/- 12.4 to 10.2 ng/ml +/- 6.2). This being so, a combination of soy isoflavone and curcumin may have a therapeutic impact on patients with a high PSA level.

Fricker, J. 1996. Ejaculation raises PSA levels. The Lancet, 347, 9010, 1250.

Ide, H., Tokiwa, S., Sakamaki, K., Nishio, K., Isotani, S., Muto, S., Hama, T., Masuda, H & Horie, S. 2010. Combined inhibitory effects of soy isoflavones and curcumin on the production of Prostate Specific Antigen. Prostate, 70, 1127-1133.

MacLennan GT., Eisenberg, R., Fleshman, RL., Taylor JM., Fu, P, Resnick & Gupta. 2006. The influence of chronic inflammation in prostatic carcinogensis: a 5 year follow up study.

Roddam AW., Duffy MJ., Hamdy, FC., Ward, AM., Patnick, J., Price, CP., Rimmer, J., Sturgeon, C., White, P & Allen NE. 2005. Use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) isoforms for the detection of prostate cancer in men with a PSA level of 2-10ng/ml: systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Urology, 48, 386-399.

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