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Pomegranate juice compounds specifically identified fight prostate cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Scientists have identified specific compounds in pomegranate juice that could be used to treat prostate cancer. Past studies have shown drinking the juice slowed progression of the disease.

Prostate cancer cells need testosterone to grow. Recurrence of the disease after surgery and radiation treatment requires suppression of testosterone with androgen therapy. Over time, prostate cancer cells become resistant to the treatment and begin to spread to other organs and the bone. The compounds found in pomegranate juice weakened signals that cause cancer cells to spread.

In the lab, researchers at the University of California, Riverside treated testosterone resistant prostate cancer cells with pomegranate juice. Compounds in the pomegranate juice killed some of the cancer cells. The ones that were not destroyed were less likely to spread.

They then identified phenylpropanoids, hydrobenzoic acids, flavones and conjugated fatty acids as inhibitors of prostate cancer cell migration and adhesion that means fewer cells break away and metastasize.

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The study was conducted in the lab of Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology and presented at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in Philadelphia.

According to Martins-Green, pomegranate juice compounds inhibit a protein in the bone marrow that causes prostate cancer, and likely other types of cancer cells, to spread to the bone.

"Having identified them, we can now modify cancer-inhibiting components in pomegranate juice to improve their functions and make them more effective in preventing prostate cancer metastasis, leading to more effective drug therapies," Martins-Green said. "Because the genes and proteins involved in the movement of prostate cancer cells are essentially the same as those involved in the movement of other types of cancer cells, the same modified components of the juice could have a much broader impact in cancer treatment."

The studies were performed on cultured prostate cancer cells. The next step is to study the effects of the pomegranate juice compounds on living subjects.

Source: UCR News